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Effects of Restrictive Abortion Legislation on Cohort Mortality Evidence from 19th Century Law Variation

Joanna Lahey and Marianne Wanamaker ()

No 30201, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Recent studies based on 20th century US data conclude that abortion access raises children’s average socioeconomic outcomes. We generalize a model of fertility, highlighting assumptions under which these abortion predictions can be reversed. Using 19th century abortion restrictions, we empirically demonstrate these points. Despite a more than 5 percent increase in birth rates among abortion-restricted cohorts, we find little evidence of negative selection at birth. Longevity was affected nevertheless; in the first ten years of life, children in these larger cohorts died of infectious disease more frequently. These mortality effects diminish with age, potentially reversing at older ages as a result of disease immunity or other offsetting factors.

JEL-codes: H75 J1 J13 J16 J18 K14 K15 K38 N3 N31 N4 N41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-hea, nep-his and nep-law
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