Differential Fertility as a Determinant of Trends in Public Opinion about Abortion in the United States

35 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2014

See all articles by J. Kevern

J. Kevern

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology

Jeremy Freese

Northwestern University

Date Written: July 7, 2014

Abstract

Differential fertility is frequently overlooked as a meaningful force in longitudinal public opinion change. We examine the effect of fertility on abortion attitudes, a useful case study due to their strong correlation with family size and high parent-child correlation. We test the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population using 34 years of GSS data (1977-2010). We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes, and consistent evidence that differential fertility between pro-life and pro-choice individuals has had a significant effect on this pattern. Future studies should account for differential fertility as a meaningful force of cohort replacement in studies of public opinion where parents and children are likely to share the same attitude.

Keywords: abortion, public opinion, attitude change, cohort replacement, fertility

Suggested Citation

Kevern, J. and Freese, Jeremy, Differential Fertility as a Determinant of Trends in Public Opinion about Abortion in the United States (July 7, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2463472 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2463472

J. Kevern

Northwestern University - Department of Sociology ( email )

1810 Chicago Ave
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Jeremy Freese (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
366
Abstract Views
6,375
Rank
150,600
PlumX Metrics