May 2009

IZA DP No. 4176: Still Waiting for Mister Right? Asymmetric Information, Abortion Laws and the Timing of Marriage

published in: Applied Economics, 2013, 45 (22), 3151-3169

Previous studies have suggested that more liberal abortion laws should lead to a decrease in marriage rates among young women as 'shotgun weddings' are no longer necessary. Empirical evidence from the United States lends support to that hypothesis. This paper presents an alternative theory of abortion access and marriage based on asymmetric information, which suggests that more liberal abortion laws may actually promote young marriage. An empirical examination of marriage data from Eastern Europe shows that countries that liberalized their abortion laws saw an increase in marriage rates among non-teenage women.