Policies Affect Preferences: Evidence From Random Variation in Abortion Jurisprudence
TSE Working Paper No. 16-723
64 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2017 Last revised: 31 Dec 2018
Date Written: December 28, 2018
We analyze all abortion appellate and district cases from 1971-2004. We show that judges’ politics, religion, and race affect abortion rulings. Information then transmits through state regulations that restrict reproductive behavior and affect socioeconomic outcomes. In response to pro-abortion rulings, campaign donations and abortion attitudes shifted against legalized abortion in the short-run, but in the longer-run, abortion views followed court decisions. Pro-choice decisions affected Republicans while pro- life decisions affected Democrats. Our causal estimates formalize historical narratives that turning to the courts to vindicate rights often led to resistance and subsequent acceptance and we present a model consistent with these facts.
Keywords: Backlash, Expressive Law, Abortion, Norms
JEL Classification: K36, Z1, D72, P48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation