Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the "Marginal Child?"
We estimate the impact of changes in abortion access in the early 1970s on the average living standards of cohorts born in those years. In particular, we address the selection inherent in the abortion decision: is the marginal child who is not born when abortion access increases more or less disadvantaged than the average child? Legalization of abortion in five states around 1970, followed by legalization nationwide due to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, generates natural variation which can be used to estimate the effect of abortion access. We find that cohorts born after abortion was legalized experienced a significant reduction in a number of adverse outcomes. Our estimates imply that the marginal child who was not born due to legalization would have been 70% more likely to live in a single parent family, 40% more likely to live in poverty, 50% more likely to receive welfare, and 35% more likely to die as an infant. These selection effects imply that the legalization of abortion saved the government over $14 billion in welfare expenditures through 1994.
|Date of creation:||May 1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 114, no. 1 (1999): 263-291.|
|Note:||CH HC LS|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Michael Grossman & Theodore J. Joyce, 1991. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birthweight Production Functions in New York City," NBER Working Papers 2746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Phillip B. Levine & Amy B. Trainor & David J. Zimmerman, 1995. "The Effect of Medicaid Abortion Funding Restrictions on Abortions, Pregnancies, and Births," NBER Working Papers 5066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lundberg, S. & Plotnick, R.D., 1994.
"Adolescent Premarital Childbearing: Do Economic Incentives Matters?,"
94-4, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
- Lundberg, Shelly & Plotnick, Robert D, 1995. "Adolescent Premarital Childbearing: Do Economic Incentives Matter?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 177-200, April.
- Lundberg, S. & Plotnick, R.D., 1994. "Adolescent Premarital Childbearing: Do Economic Incentives Matters?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-4, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
- 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.
- Hope Corman & Michael Grossman, 1984. "Determinants of Neonatal Mortality Rates in the U.S.: A Reduced Form Model," NBER Working Papers 1387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephen Chaikind & Hope Corman, 1990. "The Special Education Costs of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 3461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kane, Thomas J & Staiger, Douglas, 1996. "Teen Motherhood and Abortion Access," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 467-506, May.
- Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
- Caroline M. Hoxby, 1998. "The Effects of Class Size and Composition on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Natural Population Variation," NBER Working Papers 6869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
- 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.
- Janet Currie & Lucia Nixon & Nancy Cole, 1993. "Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Pregnancy Resolutions and Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 4432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6034. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.