Religion and Abortion: The Role of Politician Identity

56 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2018

See all articles by Sonia R. Bhalotra

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Irma Clots-Figueras

University of Kent

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit

Abstract

Leveraging close elections to generate quasi-random variation in the religious identity of state legislators in India, we find lower rates of female foeticide in districts with Muslim legislators, which we argue reflects a greater (religious) aversion to abortion among Muslims. These districts exhibit increases in fertility that offset the decrease in girl abortion. We find no evidence of greater postnatal neglect of girls once more girls are born. Our findings show that politician preferences over abortion influence abortion-related outcomes, most likely through greater enforcement of laws against sex determination.

Keywords: religion, politician identity, abortion, sex selection, fertility, infant mortality, India, Muslims

JEL Classification: I15, J13, O15, P16

Suggested Citation

Bhalotra, Sonia R. and Clots-Figueras, Irma and Iyer, Lakshmi, Religion and Abortion: The Role of Politician Identity. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11292, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3117296

Sonia R. Bhalotra (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Irma Clots-Figueras

University of Kent ( email )

Keynes College
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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