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Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PDT)
American Economic Association
New Evidence on the Effects of Mandatory Waiting Periods for Abortion
Beyond a handful of studies examining early-adopting states in the early 1990s, little is known about the causal effects of mandatory waiting periods for abortion. In this study, we evaluate the effects of a Tennessee law enacted in 2015 that requires women to make an additional trip to abortion providers for state-directed counseling at least 48 hours before they can obtain an abortion. Based on our difference-in-differences approach, estimates indicate that the introduction of the mandatory waiting period caused a 62-percent increase in the share of abortions obtained during the second trimester, completely closing the pre-existing gap between Tennessee and the comparison states. Our analysis examining overall abortion rates is suggestive of reductions caused by the waiting period, but these estimates are imprecise. To put these estimates into context, our back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that Tennessee's MWP increased the monetary costs of obtaining an abortion by as much as $929 for some women.
The Effect of Teenage Pregnancy on Schooling and Labor Force Participation: Evidence From Urban South Africa
Policy makers often express concerns over the lasting implications of teenage pregnancy, due to the observation that young mothers have worse health, less schooling, and poorer job market performance in adulthood. However, because there is selection into early motherhood, the causal impact of teenage pregnancy on human capital investments is difficult to estimate. Additionally, the majority of the literature has focused on high-income settings. I examine the impact of teenage pregnancy in Cape Town, South Africa, on educational outcomes and future labor-force participation using two main identification strategies. I use an instrumental variable strategy that relies on the number of fertile teenage years as an instrument for teenage pregnancy and exploit differences among a subsample of sisters in which one sister reported a teenage pregnancy and at least one did not. I find an increase of approximately 50 percentage points in the likelihood of failing a grade and an increase of 27\% (10 percentage points) in the probability of dropping out of school. As for overall school attainment, teenagers who report a pregnancy are, on average, less educated by 1.8 fewer years. Finally, two specific South African characteristics mitigate the negative effects of teenage pregnancy. My findings suggest that strong familial networks, measured by the presence of the mother of the teenage mother, and attendance at a school with higher rates of grade repetition are associated with an attenuation effect of 0.5 and 0.4 years, respectively.
The Demand for Private Deliveries and the Willingness to Pay for Cesarean Sections
Although cesarean deliveries are more costly and riskier to mothers than vaginal deliveries, the rate of c-sections has increased over the last decades in western countries and reached to 32% of all deliveries in North America and 26.5% in Western Europe, well and above the recommended rate by WHO of 10%-15%. The share of cesarean deliveries in Israeli hospitals ranged in 2016 from 5.1% to 27.2% where hospitals that mostly serve ultra-Orthodox Jews have the lowest shares of cesarean deliveries. This paper shows that the decision to perform a c-section is affected not only by medical necessity but also by the desired number of children. We exploit a unique data set and follow the behavior of 8,908 women who gave birth to 25,052 infants between 2007 and 2011 in Bikur-Holim hospital. This hospital serves the ultra-Orthodox Jewish population in Jerusalem, which is characterized by a high fertility rate, and enables women to choose between a free public financed delivery and private delivery service. As a control group, we use a data set of 50,000 deliveries in Sourasky medical center in Tel-Aviv. We derive the demand for private deliveries and find that ultra-Orthodox women tend to use the private health system as a mechanism designed to decrease the probability of cesarean delivery. We also derive the demand for doctors in the private delivery service and show that it has the property of a Veblen good below a price of approximately 7,350 USD. This result may indicate that doctors use the price to signal their quality in the presence of asymmetric information between patients and doctors.
The Effects of Mandatory Sex-Education on Teenage Birth Rates in Mississippi
Mississippi consistently has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country. In an effort to combat teen births, the state implemented mandatory sex education during the 2012-2013 school year and allowed school districts to choose between abstinence-only and abstinence-plus curricula. Using various empirical strategies including several difference-in-differences specifications, this paper examines the effect of implementing sex education in public schools on teen birth rates using surrounding states with no mandatory sex education as controls. We finds that requiring sex education in public schools reduced the teen birth rate in Mississippi and that abstinence-plus curricula are more effective than abstinence-only curricula.
J1 - Demographic Economics