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More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan

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  • Ming-Jen Lin
  • Nancy Qian
  • Jin-Tan Liu

Abstract

This paper presents novel empirical evidence on the impact of access to abortion on sex ratios at birth (SRB), excess female mortality (EFM) and fertility in Taiwan. For identification, we exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the availability of sex-selective abortion caused by the legalization of abortion. Our results show that the legalization of abortion accounts for almost all of the observed increase in SRB during the 1980s and decreased EFM by approximately 20%. Approximately ten more female infants survived for every one hundred that were aborted. Interestingly, we find that while abortion reduced overall fertility, it increased fertility for older mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ming-Jen Lin & Nancy Qian & Jin-Tan Liu, 2008. "More Women Missing, Fewer Girls Dying: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan," NBER Working Papers 14541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14541
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    Cited by:

    1. Valente, Christine, 2014. "Access to abortion, investments in neonatal health, and sex-selection: Evidence from Nepal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 225-243.
    2. Avraham Ebenstein, 2011. "Estimating a Dynamic Model of Sex Selection in China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 783-811, May.
    3. Luojia Hu & Analía Schlosser, 2015. "Prenatal Sex Selection and Girls’ Well‐Being: Evidence from India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(587), pages 1227-1261, September.
    4. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    5. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    6. S. Anukriti, 2013. "The Fertility-Sex Ratio Tradeoff: Unintended Consequences of Financial Incentives," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 827, Boston College Department of Economics.
    7. Claus C Pörtner, 2010. "Sex Selective Abortions, Fertility and Birth Spacing," Working Papers UWEC-2010-04-R, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2010.
    8. González, Libertad, 2018. "Sex selection and health at birth among Indian immigrants," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 64-75.
    9. Portner, Claus C, 2015. "Sex-selective abortions, fertility, and birth spacing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7189, The World Bank.
    10. Yuyu Chen & Hongbin Li & Lingsheng Meng, 2013. "Prenatal Sex Selection and Missing Girls in China: Evidence from the Diffusion of Diagnostic Ultrasound," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(1), pages 36-70.
    11. Anukriti, S & Kumler, Todd J., 2014. "Tariffs, Social Status, and Gender in India," IZA Discussion Papers 7969, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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