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Access to Abortion, Investments in Neonatal Health, and Sex-Selection: Evidence from Nepal

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  • Valente, C.

Abstract

The impact of abortion reforms on the human capital of subsequent generations, including health, has been documented in several developed countries. However, (i) evidence relative to the impact on health in early life is not unanimous, (ii) there is no evidence for a developing country, where health human capital is low, and (iii) existing econometric studies have been unable to disentangle the effect of abortion reform on individual behavior from that on the composition of mothers. In this paper, I exploit variation in the timing and location of newly introduced legal abortion centers in Nepal to estimate the effect of reducing the psychological and _nancial cost of abortion on fertility, investments in prenatal care, neonatal mortality, and sex-selection. Consistent with the prediction that the opening of a legal abortion center nearby reduces the cost of abortion, I find that the probability of a live birth conditional on conception decreases by 8.3 percentage points (9 percent of the mean), for a given mother. Similarly, the unconditional monthly probability of a live birth decreases by 0.4 percentage points (21 percent of the mean). However, there is no evidence that improved access to abortion increases observed investments in antenatal care and little evidence that it increases unobserved investments in neonatal health. Contrary to _ndings in Lin et al. (2008) for Taiwan, abortion reform in Nepal does not appear to have led to sex-selective terminations. On the contrary, there is some evidence that it may have led to a decrease in sex-selective abortion, which could be due to the substitution of first-trimester legal abortions to illegal abortions at a later gestational stage.

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  • Valente, C., 2010. "Access to Abortion, Investments in Neonatal Health, and Sex-Selection: Evidence from Nepal," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 10/15, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:10/15
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    Cited by:

    1. Libois, François & Somville, Vincent, 2018. "Fertility, household size and poverty in Nepal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 311-322.
    2. Godlonton, Susan & Okeke, Edward N., 2016. "Does a ban on informal health providers save lives? Evidence from Malawi," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 112-132.
    3. Grant Miller & Christine Valente, 2016. "Population Policy: Abortion and Modern Contraception Are Substitutes," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 979-1009, August.
    4. Annarita Macchioni Giaquinto, 2022. "The power of the (red) pill in Europe: pharmaceutical innovation and female empowerment," Working Papers 2022:09, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    5. José-Ignacio Antón & Zuleika Ferre & Patricia Triunfo, 2016. "The impact of abortion legalisation on birth outcomes in Uruguay," Economics working papers 2016-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    6. Nicholas Wilson, 2011. "Fertility Responses to Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV," Center for Development Economics 2011-08, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Sep 2011.
    7. Sayli Javadekar & Kritika Saxena, 2021. "The Seen and the Unseen: Impact of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Prenatal Sex Selection," IHEID Working Papers 15-2021, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    8. Clarke, Damian & Mühlrad, Hanna, 2021. "Abortion laws and women’s health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    9. William W. Olney, 2015. "Remittances and the Wage Impact of Immigration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(3), pages 694-727.
    10. Christine Valente & Hans H. Sievertsen & Mahesh C. Puri, 2020. "Saving Neonatal Lives for a Quarter," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 20/728, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    11. Cecilia Velázquez & Wanda Cabella, 2022. "Abortion Legalization in Uruguay: Effects on Adolescent Fertility," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0298, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    12. Nandi, Arindam & Deolalikar, Anil B., 2013. "Does a legal ban on sex-selective abortions improve child sex ratios? Evidence from a policy change in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 216-228.
    13. Fredrick Manang & Chikako Yamauchi, 2015. "The impact of access to health facilities on maternal care use and health status: Evidence from longitudinal data from rural Uganda," GRIPS Discussion Papers 15-19, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    14. José‐Ignacio Antón & Zuleika Ferre & Patricia Triunfo, 2018. "The impact of the legalisation of abortion on birth outcomes in Uruguay," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(7), pages 1103-1119, July.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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