Publication in: Fall 2023 Issue

Targeted Regulations on Abortion Providers: Impact on Women’s Occupational Mobility in the U.S. Labor Market
Erin Walsh
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Melissa Mahoney
Abstract / Summary:
Restrictive abortion policies impact women’s labor force outcomes in the United States, increasing economic inequality between men and women and limiting women’s ability to move into higher-paying employment. The existing economic literature studying the impact that abortion restrictions have on women’s labor force outcomes shows that there is a negative correlation between access to reproductive healthcare and more employment and economic opportunities as well as higher rates of educational attainment. Significantly, a 2019 economic study analyzing the impacts of targeted regulations on abortion providers (TRAP laws) on occupational mobility finds that these laws do restrict women’s ability to change occupations. Further, they limit women’s abilities to move into higher-paying occupations and full-time employment. There is also economic literature that shows that TRAP laws have a negative impact on the gender wage gap. There is ample research on the impact of birth control on economic outcomes for women, which has been shown to increase labor force participation and educational attainment for women. This paper studies the impact that TRAP laws have on women’s occupational mobility using data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC). I combine economic and demographic data with abortion policy data from the Guttmacher Institute to analyze the impact that TRAP laws have on changes to women’s labor force outcomes. Using a linear probability regression model, I hypothesize that women living in states with strict TRAP laws are less likely to change occupations.
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