Does paid family leave affect abortion? Evidence from New York

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As state Paid Family Leave (PFL) programs continue to roll out across the United States, previous work has sought to investigate their impacts on economic, child, and maternal outcomes,
including fertility. The impact they may have on abortion is however still unexplored. We employ
the Synthetic-Difference-in-Differences estimator developed by Arkhangelsky et al. (2021) to
estimate the effect of New York’s PFL program (NY-PFL) on abortion rates. Using abortion data
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we find that the launch of NY-PFL in 2018
led to a 13.6% decrease in abortion rates per 1,000 women for the 20-39 age group, with smaller
effects observed for older women. Event-study estimates reveal that this decrease intensified
from an initial 7.1% decline in 2018-19 to 13.6% in 2021, while robustness checks underline the
significance of our findings. Our exercise contributes further evidence towards the deliberation
of state PFL programs.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2024

Publication series

NameStrathclyde Discussion Papers in Economics
ISSN (Print)0959-5635


  • Abortion
  • Paid Family Leave
  • Maternity Leave
  • Synthetic Difference-in-Differences


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