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

See all articles by Ali Abboud

Ali Abboud

American University of Beirut

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

Abboud, Ali, The Impact of Early Fertility Shocks on Women's Fertility and Labor Market Outcomes (November 22, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Ali Abboud (Contact Author)

American University of Beirut ( email )

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