The Impact of Induced Abortion on Birth Outcomes in the U.S.

Theodore J. Joyce

NBER Working Paper No. 1757 (Also Reprint No. r0919)
Issued in October 1985
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

This paper examines the impact of induced abortion on birth outcomes by treating abortion as an endogenous input into the production of infant health. To gauge the direct and indirect effect of abortion, three measures of infant health are considered simultaneously: the neonatal sortality rate, the percentage of low-birth weight births, and the percentage of pretera births. All three are race-specific and all pertain to large counties in the U.S. in 1977. Because the utilization of health inputs nay be conditioned on the expected birth outcome, estimates obtained by two-stage least squares are emphasized. The results sake clear that abortion is an important determinant of infant health. This suggests that by reducing the number of unwanted births, abortion enhances the healthiness of newborns of a given weight and gestational age, as well as improving the distribution of births among high-risk groups. Moreover, these direct and indirect effects differ by race.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1757

Published: Joyce, Theodore. "The Impact of Induced Abortion on Black and White Birth Outcomes in the U.S.," Demography, Vol. 24, No. 2, May 1987, pp. 229-244.

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