Exploring the Long-Lasting Effects of the Romanian Abortion Ban on Children's Life Course

Francesco Billari, Bocconi University
Selin Köksal, Bocconi University
Nicoletta Balbo, Bocconi University

Strategic demographic policies are commonly enacted by governments in order to stimulate fertility increase or control population growth. In this study, we focus on the 1966 abortion decree in Romania, a relatively under-studied population policy. The abrupt prohibition of abortion services in Romania skyrocketed the number of births and lead to high levels of birth rates in the following year. We exploit this discontinuity in number of births to explore the causal effect of relative cohort size on the major adulthood life course transitions. In so doing, we adopt a gender perspective for relative cohort size approach. Indeed, our findings shed light on the gender differentials in the effect of relative cohort size and its further implications on adulthood life course outcomes. Accordingly, we find that being born and raised in a larger cohort has stronger effect on women's transition to adulthood through postponing the timing of leaving home, union formation and childbearing. Lastly, a deeper focus on marriage market dynamics led us to conclude that the prevalence of age and educational hypergamy is lower among women who were born after the abortion ban.

Presented in Session 3: Climate Change, Voting Behaviour and Family Policies: What role do demographic changes play?