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State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment

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  • Rebecca M. Blank
  • Christine C. George
  • Rebecca A. London

Abstract

This paper uses data on abortion rates from 1974-88, to estimate two-stage least squares models with fixed state and year effects. The results indicate that implementing restrictions on Medicaid funding for abortion results in lower aggregate abortion rates in-state and higher abortion rates among nearby states, suggesting one of the main effects of these policies is to induce cross-state migration for abortion services. The effect of these restrictions on actual abortions among state residents is much smaller; a maximal estimate suggests that 22 percent of the abortions among low-income women that are publicly funded do not take place after funding is eliminated. We also have substantial evidence that a larger number of abortion providers in a state increases the abortion rate within the state, primarily through inducing cross-state migration, with nonhospital providers being particularly important. Political affiliation variables have mixed effects and are difficult to interpret. Controlling for state fixed effects, the effect of changes in demographic and economic variables over time is typically small, although a rise in unemployment has consistently positive effects on abortion rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank & Christine C. George & Rebecca A. London, 1994. "State Abortion Rates: The Impact of Policies, Providers, Politics, Demographics, and Economic Environment," NBER Working Papers 4853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4853
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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1991:81:3:294-298_0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Joyce, Theodore & Kaestner, Robert, 1996. "State reproductive policies and adolescent pregnancy resolution: The case of parental involvement laws," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 579-607, October.
    3. Deborah Haas-Wilson, 1993. "The economic impact of state restrictions on abortion: Parental consent and notification laws and medicaid funding restrictions," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 498-511.
    4. Blank, Rebecca M. & George, Christine C. & London, Rebecca A., 1996. "State abortion rates the impact of policies, providers, politics, demographics, and economic environment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 513-553, October.
    5. Robert L. Ohsfeldt & Stephan F. Gohmann, 1994. "Do Parental Involvement Laws Reduce Adolescent Abortion Rates?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(2), pages 65-76, April.
    6. Stephan F. Gohmann & Robert L. Ohsfeldt, 1993. "Effects Of Price And Availability On Abortion Demand," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(4), pages 42-55, October.
    7. Elizabeth Cooksey, 1990. "Factors in the Resolution of Adolescent Premarital Pregnancies," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(2), pages 207-218, May.
    8. Medoff, Marshall H, 1988. "An Economic Analysis of the Demand for Abortions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(2), pages 353-359, April.
    9. Levine, Phillip B. & Trainor, Amy B. & Zimmerman, David J., 1996. "The effect of Medicaid abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 555-578, October.
    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1986:76:4:397-400_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.69.9.948_4 is not listed on IDEAS
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    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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