Abortion Legalization and Lifecycle Fertility

46 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2004 Last revised: 24 Aug 2009

See all articles by Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat

Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat

Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy; Duke University - Department of Economics

Jonathan Gruber

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2004

Abstract

Previous research has convincingly shown that abortion legalization in the early 1970s led to a significant drop in fertility at that time. But this decline may have either represented a delay in births from a point where they were have represented a permanent reduction in fertility. We combine data from the 1970 U.S. Census and microdata from 1968 to 1999 Vital Statistics records to calculate lifetime fertility of women in the 1930s through 1960s birth cohorts. We examine whether those women who were born in early legalizing states and who passed through the early 1970s in their peak childbearing years had differential lifetime fertility patterns compared to women born in other states and in different birth cohorts. We consider the impact of abortion legalization on both the number of children ever born as well as the distribution of number of children ever born. Our results indicate that much of the reduction in fertility at the time abortion was legalized was permanent in that women did not have more subsequent births as a result. We also find that this result is largely attributable to an increase in the number of women who remained childless throughout their fertile years.

Suggested Citation

Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans and Gruber, Jonathan and Levine, Phillip B., Abortion Legalization and Lifecycle Fertility (August 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10705. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=583426

Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat

Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy ( email )

201 Science Drive
Box 90312
Durham, NC 27708-0239
United States

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Jonathan Gruber (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-355
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-8892 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/gruberj/www/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Phillip B. Levine

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
781-283-2162 (Phone)
781-283-2177 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
46
Abstract Views
1,254
PlumX Metrics