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Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Pregnancy Resolutions and Birth Weight

  • Janet Currie
  • Lucia Nixon
  • Nancy Cole

Previous research suggests that restricting the availability of abortion reduces average birth weight by increasing the number of unhealthy fetuses that are carried to term. In this paper we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to ask whether restrictions on Medicaid funding of abortion have this effect. We attempt to account for the potential endogeneity of abortion laws by comparing the effects of liberal statutes to those of court injunctions ordering states to fund abortion. Our results suggest that restrictions do increase the probability that African-American and low income women carry a pregnancy to term, but that they have no direct effect on birth weight. In contrast, community-level measures of the availability of abortion, contraception, and prenatal care do affect birth weight among African-Americans but not among whites.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4432.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4432.

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Date of creation: Aug 1993
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Publication status: published as Journal of Human Resources (Winter 1996).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4432
Note: LS
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  1. 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.
  2. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1987. "Birth Outcome Production Function in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(3), pages 339-360.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
  6. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  8. 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 S14-64, Part II, .
  9. Theodore Joyce, 1987. "The impact of induced abortion on black and white birth outcomes in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 229-244, May.
  10. 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.
  11. 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, .
  12. 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.
  13. Elizabeth Cooksey, 1990. "Factors in the Resolution of Adolescent Premarital Pregnancies," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 207-218, May.
  14. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1988. "The Stability of Household Production Technology: A Replication," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 535-549.
  15. Theodore Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1990. "Pregnancy wantedness and the early initiation of prenatal care," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 1-17, February.
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