Evidence of Price Elasticity in Abortion Markets

For the final portion of my project, I tried to find trends in abortion rate data for instances of change in market policy. A noticeable change in abortion rates could be evidence in support of greater demand elasticity, while smaller or insignificant changes in abortion rate could be evidence of lesser demand elasticity.

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Gathering Data on Abortion Law History

One of the goals of this project is to try to identify consistencies in abortion market demand elasticity. Ideally, it would be most useful to be able to see commonalities in trends across different populations when similar laws are implemented. In order to be able to chart a portion of a market demand curve, different points of the same demand curve must be identified. This is harder than it sounds; when using points found by changing market equilibrium, it must be established that a certain change is solely due to a shift in supply and that the demand curve remained constant. This, then, requires a sudden shift to take place in abortion policy that effects supply in such a way that equilibrium would shift without any significant changes in demand. Elasticity could be roughly estimated from such a shift.

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Existing Research on Demand for Abortions

My research is on demand in abortion markets, with particular interest in price elasticity. I have looked at several existing studies of abortion demand with different focuses. Because it is more difficult to try to analyze abortion demand on the whole, which can also differ significantly across different markets, existing studies are often very selective in scope. Existing research oftentimes focuses on one aspect of the abortion market, such as teen abortions, or on one type of policy, such as mandatory counseling laws. Thus far, I’ve compiled a number of these studies and their findings in order to get a more general picture of commonality in similar studies.

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Abstract: William Anderson

Welcome to my Freshman Monroe research project on elasticity in abortion markets!

My project will respond to four questions. First, whether there is adequate public data on abortion rates to be able to synthesize a supply or demand curve from them (regardless of how constrained in scope or market size such a curve may be). Second, what degree of price elasticity exists for both supply and demand in the abortion market analyzed in the event either curves can be found. Third, whether the data found can provide insight into what impact supply-side restrictions and/or taxation (specifically originating in public policy) have on quantity and other considerations such as timing of abortions, and whether these data align with supply/demand models given the findings of the first two questions. Fourth and finally, how useful these findings are to public policy given unaccounted-for or uncontrolled variables in the data, such as consumers travelling outside of the market for abortions.