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The Impact of Induced Abortion on Birth Outcomes in the U.S

  • Theodore J. Joyce

This paper examines the impact of induced abortion on birth outcomes by treating abortion as an endogenous input into the production of infant health. To gauge the direct and indirect effect of abortion, three measures of infant health are considered simultaneously: the neonatal sortality rate, the percentage of low-birth weight births, and the percentage of pretera births. All three are race-specific and all pertain to large counties in the U.S. in 1977. Because the utilization of health inputs nay be conditioned on the expected birth outcome, estimates obtained by two-stage least squares are emphasized. The results sake clear that abortion is an important determinant of infant health. This suggests that by reducing the number of unwanted births, abortion enhances the healthiness of newborns of a given weight and gestational age, as well as improving the distribution of births among high-risk groups. Moreover, these direct and indirect effects differ by race.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1757.

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Date of creation: Oct 1985
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Joyce, Theodore. "The Impact of Induced Abortion on Black and White Birth Outcomes in the U.S.," Demography, Vol. 24, No. 2, May 1987, pp. 229-244.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1757
Note: HE
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  1. Eugene M. Lewit & Douglas Coate, 1981. "The Potential for Using Excise Taxes to Reduce Smoking," NBER Working Papers 0764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Corman, Hope & Grossman, Michael, 1985. "Determinants of neonatal mortality rates in the U.S. : A reduced form model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 213-236, September.
  3. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1983. "Consumer Demand and Household Production: The Relationship between Fertility and Child Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 38-42, May.
  4. Nakamura, Alice & Nakamura, Masao, 1981. "On the Relationships among Several Specification Error Tests Presented by Durbin, Wu, and Hausman," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1583-88, November.
  5. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1985. "Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Grossman, Michael, 1982. "The demand for health after a decade," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-3, May.
  7. Michael Grossman & Steven Jacobowitz, 1981. "Variations in Infant Mortality Rates among Counties in the United States: The Roles of Social Policies and Programs," NBER Working Papers 0615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1982. "The Behavior of Mothers as Inputs to Child Health: The Determinants of Birth Weight, Gestation, and Rate of Fetal Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  10. Michael Grossman & Steven Jacobowitz, 1981. "Variations in infant mortality rates among counties of the United States: The roles of public policies and programs," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 695-713, November.
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