Wednesday, 13th March 2019
Abortion and Voter Turnout
The introduction of legalized abortion in the 1970s in the U.S. had a significant impact on subsequent cohort outcomes, resulting in a significant reduction in fertility rates and inducing sizable positive selection along a wide range of socio-economic outcomes. These same socio-economic outcomes are known to robustly correlate with measures of political participation, which suggests that abortion may also select cohorts that are more likely to engage with politics. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that the introduction of legalized abortion produces similar selection effects on turnout. Our estimates suggest that legalized abortion increased turnout rates among affected cohorts by 1.4 to 3.8 percentage points.