The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sparked the most profound transformation of the landscape of abortion access in 50 years. We provide the first estimates of the effects of this decision on fertility using a pre-registered synthetic difference-in-differences design applied to newly released provisional natality data for the first half of 2023. The results indicate that states with abortion bans experienced an average increase in births of 2.3 percent relative to states where abortion was not restricted.
"How Many Abortions Did the Post-Roe Bans Prevent?" 11/22/23, The New York Times.
"Births have increased in states with abortion bans, research finds," 11/21/23, CNNhealth.
"Birth Rates Have Risen in States With Abortion Bans," 11/22/23, Healthday. (reprinted worldwide).
"Abortion Bans Raised Annual US Births by 32,000, Study Shows," 11/22/23, Bloomberg. (reprinted worldwide).
"Overturning of Roe v. Wade led to 32,000 additional births, study finds," 11/25/23, The New York Post.
Effects of abortion bans on births by state
Following the 2022 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, several U.S. states have severely restricted or eliminated access to abortion. To shed light on the potential economic impacts of this landmark ruling, we estimate the impact of abortion access on women's educational attainment. We first codify the legal history of all targeted regulations of abortion providers (TRAP laws) ever implemented. We document that TRAP laws increased teen births by more than 3 percent and oer evidence that these impacts are driven by reductions in abortion access and abortion use. We further document that exposure to TRAP laws before age 18 reduces college initiation by 2.1 percent and college completion by 5.8 percent among Black women. For White women, despite comparable impacts on teen births, educational impacts are on college completion only, are less than half as large, and are not robust. Our findings suggest that modern abortion restrictions affect women's economic participation and contribute to racial inequality.
Impacts of admitting privileges laws implementation on black teens birth rates
Access to abortion and intimate partner violence (with Aixa Garcia-Ramos). Under review
We study the impact of improved access to abortion on intimate partner violence (IPV) by exploiting variation in abortion access induced by the legalization of abortion in Mexico City in 2007. Using a difference-in-differences framework and individual-level information on IPV, we find that after the abortion legalization, IPV declined by 7-9 percent for women residing in Mexico City and nearby municipalities. This effect is driven by women with children and those of low or middle socio-economic status. We provide evidence for potential mechanisms, including substitution of in-clinic abortions for self-induced ones, decreases in unwanted children, and increases in contraceptive use.
Distribution of facilities providing ILE service
We study the causal relationship between educational attainment and teenage fertility by focusing on a large-scale, country-wide reform that made high school compulsory and removed previously existing school capacity constraints in Mexico. Relying on administrative data on schools and births, we implement a difference-in-differences strategy that exploits variation across time and municipality-level exposure to the reform to explore the effects of expanding educational opportunities on teenage fertility. We find that teenage fertility rates decreased by 3 percent after the education reform in municipalities with high increases in high school availability relative to municipalities with low increases. This decline in fertility is driven by teenagers changing their expectations for the future rather than an incapacitation effect.
Estimated effects of the education reform on teen births
Texas Senate Bill 8 significantly reduced travel to abortion clinics in Texas (with Martin Andersen, Chris Marsicano, and David Slusky), Frontiers in Global Women's Health, March 2023
The Dobbs v. Jackson decision by the United States Supreme Court has rescinded the constitutional guarantee of abortion across the United States. As a result, at least 13 states have banned abortion access with unknown effects. Using “Texas” SB8 law that similarly restricted abortions in Texas, we provide insight into how individuals respond to these restrictions using aggregated and anonymized human mobility data. We find that “Texas” SB 8 law reduced mobility near abortion clinics in Texas by people who live in Texas and those who live outside the state. We also find that mobility from Texas to abortion clinics in other states increased, with notable increases in Missouri and Arkansas, two states that subsequently enacted post-Dobbs bans. These results highlight the importance of out-of-state abortion services for women living in highly restrictive states.
Percentage change in mobility near abortion clinics by state for Texas devices relative to non-Texas devices
New Evidence on the Effects of Mandatory Waiting Periods for Abortion (with Jason Lindo), NBER Working Paper 26228, Journal of Health Economics, December 2021
Beyond a handful of studies examining early-adopting states in the early 1990s, little is known about the causal effects of mandatory waiting periods for abortion. In this study, we evaluate the effects of a Tennessee law enacted in 2015 that requires women to make an additional trip to abortion providers for state-directed counseling at least 48 hours before they can obtain an abortion. Our difference-in-differences and synthetic-control estimates indicate that the introduction of the mandatory waiting period caused a 53–69 percent increase in the share of abortions obtained during the second trimester. Our analysis examining overall abortion rates is less conclusive but suggests a reduction caused by the waiting period. To put these estimates into context, we provide back-of-the-envelope calculations on the additional monetary costs that Tennessee’s MWP imposes on women seeking abortions.
Percent of abortions in the second trimester
Legal Access to Reproductive Control Technology, Women's Education, and Earnings Approaching Retirement Outcomes (with Jason Lindo, David Pritchard, and Hedieh Tajali), Papers and Proceedings 2020
We investigate how historical changes in contraception and abortion access impact women's long-run outcomes. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study and an identification strategy that leverages variation in exposure to legal changes in access across cohorts born in the same states during the 1960s and 1970s. Our results for educational attainment align with prior work but are not statistically significant. The results for earnings indicate increases in the probability of working in a Social Security(SS) covered job in women's 20s and 30s associated with early access to contraception and abortion, but we find no evidence of positive effects on women's earnings in their 50s.
Effects of The Pill and abortion access on working in an SS-covered job
Work in Progress
The Evolution of Hispanic Fertility Trends in the U.S.