Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of the 1970 State Abortion Reforms
NBER Working Paper No. 5406
This study uses the 1970 state abortion reforms to estimate the effect of teen and out-of-wedlock childbearing on the schooling and labor market outcomes of mothers observed in 1980 and 1990 Census microdata. Reduced-form estimates suggest that state abortion reforms had a negative impact on teen marriage, teen fertility, and teen out- of-wedlock childbearing. The teen marriage effects are largest and most precisely estimated for white women while the teen fertility and out-of-wedlock childbearing effects are largest and most precisely estimated for black women. The relatively modest fertility and marriage consequences of abortion reform for white women do not appear to have changed schooling or labor market outcomes. In contrast, black women who were exposed to abortion reforms experienced large reductions in teen fertility and teen out-of-wedlock fertility that appear to have led to increased schooling and employment rates. Instrumental variables estimates of the effects of teen and out-of- wedlock childbearing on the schooling and employment status of black women, using measures of exposure to abortion reform as instruments, are marginally significant and larger than the corresponding OLS estimates.
Published: Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 18 (1999).