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Pregnancy Resolution as an Indicator of Wantedness and its Impact on the Initiation of Early Prenatal Care

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  • Theodore J. Joyce
  • Michael Grossman

Abstract

The study examines the impact of the wantedness of a pregnancy on the demand for early prenatal care. Past attempts to address this question have depended on the self-assessments of women as to the wantedness of their pregnancy and birth. Our approach can be described as a form of revealed preference in which only those pregnancies that are voluntarily terminated by induced abortion are considered to be unwanted. Using a cohort of pregnant women in New York City, we estimate a prenatal care demand function in which we control for the probability of giving birth, given a woman is pregnant. We interpret this control as a measure of wantedness. The results indicate that if the black and Hispanic women who aborted, had instead given birth, they would have delayed the initiation of prenatal care, on average, over three-quarters of a month longer than the mean number of months of delay that were actually observed for the women who gave birth. By allowing women to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, induced abortion increases the average utilization of prenatal care among black and Hispanic women relative to what would have been observed if the women who aborted had instead given birth.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1989. "Pregnancy Resolution as an Indicator of Wantedness and its Impact on the Initiation of Early Prenatal Care," NBER Working Papers 2827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2827 Note: HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Weller & Isaac Eberstein & Mohamed Bailey, 1987. "Pregnancy Wantedness And Maternal Behavior During Pregnancy," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(3), pages 407-412, August.
    2. Elizabeth Stephen & Ronald Rindfuss & Frank Bean, 1988. "Racial differences in contraceptive choice: Complexity and implications," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(1), pages 53-70, February.
    3. Theodore Joyce, 1987. "The impact of induced abortion on black and white birth outcomes in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(2), pages 229-244, May.
    4. 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;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 18(4), pages 695-713, November.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 14-64, Part II, .
    8. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1987:77:1:25-28_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Arleen Leibowitz & Winston Chow & Marvin Eisen, 1986. "An economic model of teenage pregnancy decision-making," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 23(1), pages 67-77, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", pages 129-137.
    12. Theodore J. Joyce, 1986. "The Demand for Health Inputs and Their Impact on the Black Neonatal Mortality Rate in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Greene, William H, 1981. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 795-798, May.
    14. Eve Powell-Griner & Katherine Trent, 1987. "Sociodemographic determinants of abortion in The United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(4), pages 553-561, November.
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