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

See all articles by Daniel L. Chen

Daniel L. Chen

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France

Vardges Levonyan

ETH Zürich

Susan Yeh

Charles River Associates (CRA)

Date Written: December 28, 2018

Abstract

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

Chen, Daniel L. and Levonyan, Vardges and Yeh, Susan, Policies Affect Preferences: Evidence From Random Variation in Abortion Jurisprudence (December 28, 2018). TSE Working Paper No. 16-723. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928175

Daniel L. Chen (Contact Author)

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France ( email )

21 allée de Brienne
31015 Toulouse cedex 6 France
Toulouse, 31015
France

Vardges Levonyan

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015
Switzerland

Susan Yeh

Charles River Associates (CRA) ( email )

1201 F. St. NW
Ste. 700
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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