Methodological Issues in the Evaluation of Parental Involvement Laws: Evidence from Texas

33 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2006

See all articles by Theodore Joyce

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Silvie Colman

CUNY Graduate Center - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2006

Abstract

The number of states that require parental involvement in a minor's decision to terminate a pregnancy has more than doubled since 1988. Congress is currently considering legislation that would further limit access to abortion for minors who reside in states that enforce parental involvement laws. So far, the academic literature has not reached a consensus as to the impact of such abortion restrictions, mainly due to methodological limitations caused by the inability to measure cross-state travel and misclassification of exposure. Using detailed data on abortions and births from Texas, we demonstrate that these limitations led researchers to overestimate the decline in minors' abortion rate, underestimate the increase in their birth rate, and to miss an important behavioral response to the law, which is the tendency to delay the abortion among a group of older minors. Correction of these methodological problems is important given the controversy surrounding abortion and the need of voters and policymakers to accurately assess the likely impact of these laws.

Keywords: abortion, minors, parental involvement laws

JEL Classification: J13

Suggested Citation

Joyce, Theodore J. and Colman, Silvie and Kaestner, Robert, Methodological Issues in the Evaluation of Parental Involvement Laws: Evidence from Texas (September 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=929171 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.929171

Theodore J. Joyce (Contact Author)

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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New York, NY 10016-4309
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Silvie Colman

CUNY Graduate Center - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Robert Kaestner

University of Chicago ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

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