Family Formation and Equilibrium Influences
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This dissertation considers incentives arising from equilibrium influences that affect the sequence of decisions that lead to family formation. The first chapter examines how state regulations directly aimed at abortion providers affect the market for abortion in the United States. Estimates from a dynamic model of competition among abortion providers show that regulations' main impact is on the fixed costs of entry for providers. Simulations indicate that the removal of regulations would promote entry and competition among abortion providers, and because abortions are found to be price sensitive, this would lead to increases in the number of abortions observed. The second chapter tests if an important negative externality of abortion access exists, namely whether abortion access makes prospective fathers more likely to leave pregnant women. Designing a number of empirical tests, I confirm that in some areas where abortion is more accessible women who give birth are more likely to be single mothers, rather than sharing parental responsibility with the biological father. The final chapter, which is joint work with Peter Arcidiacono and Marjorie McElroy, examines how gender ratios influence bargaining power in romantic relationships between men and women. Gender ratios, by influencing the prospects of matching, allow us to estimate preferences for various match characteristics and activities. We find men prefer sexual relationships more than women at high school ages, and that men and women trade off their preferred partner for an increased chance of matching.
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