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Working Papers

TRAP'd Teens: Impacts of abortion provider regulations on fertility & education (with Kelly M. Jones). IZA Discussion Paper No. 14837. Under review

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



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The Dobbs v. Jackson decision by the United States Supreme Court has rescinded the constitutional guarantee of abortion across the United States.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.


Media coverage:

"Tennessee's abortion wait period law faces court arguments," 9/20/19, Associated Press (reprinted worldwide)

"Mandatory waiting periods can make abortions nearly $1,000 more expensive," 9/10/19, MarketWatch

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

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