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Working Paper No. 13-16

Long-Term Effects of Legalized Abortion on Female Education in Taiwan*
Priti Kalsi
October 2013


Increasing access to sex-selective abortions in societies with a male preference should, theoretically, increase investments and the level of care provided for girls who are not aborted. Existing literature finds that higher birth order sex selection increases following the legalization of abortion in Taiwan. This research presents evidence thatthe legalization of abortion in Taiwan improved educational outcomes for girls born at higher birth orders where sex selection is most common. Specifically, I find that girls born at higher birth orders after the legalization of abortion experience an improvement in their university attendance rates by approximately 4.5 percentage points. Moreover, a similar improvement in university attendance rates for higher birth order boys is not found. The findings in this analysis are robust to several specifications, and they extend existing literature by providing evidence of the substitution hypothesis for a later life economic outcome.


JEL classification: J13, A22