Mental Health and Abortions Among Young Women

Research Seminars

In the paper presented in this Mannheim Applied Seminar, the authors provide causal evidence on abortions and risky health behaviors as determinants of mental health development among young women. Using administrative in- and outpatient records from Sweden, they apply a novel grouped fixed-effects estimator proposed by Bonhomme and Manresa (2015) to allow for time-varying unobserved heterogeneity. They show that the positive association obtained from standard estimators shrinks to zero once we control for grouped time-varying unobserved heterogeneity. They estimate the group profiles of unobserved heterogeneity, which reflect differences in unobserved risk to be diagnosed with a mental health condition and analyze mental health development and risky health behaviors other than unwanted pregnancies across groups. Their results suggest that these are determined by the same type of unobserved heterogeneity, which we attribute to the same unobserved process of decision-making. They develop and estimate a theoretical model of risky choices and mental health, in which mental health disparity across groups is generated by different degrees of self-control problems. Their findings imply that mental health concerns cannot be used to justify restrictive abortion policies. Moreover, potential self-control problems should be targeted as early as possible to combat future mental health consequences.


ZEW – Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung


  • Prof. Dr. Bettina Siflinger

    Prof. Dr. Bettina Siflinger // Tilburg University, the Netherlands

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Leitung und Dean of Graduate Studies, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Siegloch
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Institute address

ZEW – Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung


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