The Impact of Early Fertility Shocks on Women's Fertility and Labor Market Outcomes
61 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020 Last revised: 14 Sep 2020
Date Written: November 22, 2019
This paper evaluates the effect of unplanned fertility shocks on women's careers. I exploit the early repeal of abortion bans in five US states. This leads to variation in access to abortion across states and birth cohorts, which allows the estimation of the effect of accessing abortion at a certain age on women's fertility. The evidence suggests that accessing abortion before the age of 21 delayed the age at which women gave birth to their first child by half a year on average. I also document an increase in completed fertility among black women who received access to abortion early in their fertility cycle. The resulting variation in fertility realizations is then used to estimate the effect of fertility on women's careers. I find that wages increase significantly as a result of the delay of an unplanned start of motherhood. This increase in wages translates into a 10% increase in labor earnings among black women, and it is completely offset by the a decrease in labor supply for white women.
Keywords: Abortion, Fertility Shocks, Labor Supply, Earnings
JEL Classification: J08, J13, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation