This study examines educational and labor outcomes of children affected by a ban on abortions. I use evidence from Romania, where in 1966 dictator Nicolae Ceausescu declared abortion and family planning illegal. Birth rates doubled in 1967 because formerly abortion had been the primary method of birth control. Children born after the abortion ban attained more years of schooling and greater labor market success. This is because urban, educated women were more likely to have abortions prior to the policy change, and the relative number of children born to this type of woman increased after the ban. However, controlling for composition using observable background variables, children born after the ban on abortions had worse educational and labor market achievements as adults. Additionally, I provide evidence of crowding in the schooling system and some suggestive evidence that cohorts born after the introduction of the abortion ban had higher infant mortality and increased criminal behavior later in life. While in the short-run the abortion ban differentially increased fertility of more educated women, in the long-run the ban differentially increased fertility among less educated women. This suggests that educated women changed their behavior more drastically as a result of the ban.
Focus areas: Health (early childhood interventions in Malawi), education (student allocation and teacher effort), demography (the impact of population policies)
Cristian Pop-Eleches' primary research area is applied development and labor economics with particular interest in demographic issues. He teaches courses in economic development and microeconomics.
His publications include "The Impact of an Abortion Ban on Socio-Economic Outcomes of Children: Evidence from Romania" and "The Supply of Birth Control Methods, Education and Fertility."
Cristian Pop-Eleches received his BA (1988) and PhD (2003) in economics from Harvard University.