The Impact of a Restrictive Abortion Policy on Newborns’ Health: The Case of Hungary

Gábor Hajdu , Institute for Sociology, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Tamás Hadu, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

This paper examines the consequences of the restrictive Hungarian abortion policy that was introduced in 1974. We analyze the impacts on the newborns’ health using individual-level live birth and infant mortality registry data. Using difference-in-difference estimations, we show that the law change had a negative impact on the health of the newborns. We found a statistically significant decrease in birth weight and an increase in the probability of being born with low birth weight and in the probability of infant mortality. Performing robustness and placebo tests, we provide evidence that the unwantedness of the children might be a major mechanism in these results.

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 Presented in Session 10. Health and Fertility Consequences of Abortion Restrictions