Nota di Lavoro, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 41.2003
Legalization of abortion in the 1970s represents a major cultural change: it gives women a higher degree of freedom to directly control their fertility, allowing them to ultimately decide upon children without man's consent and to decrease uncertainty in their expected labor market returns. This public policy and its implications on female behavior have been so far analyzed through its direct consequences on fertility and fertility technology, primarily on women actually experiencing an abortion. However, it seems relevant to evaluate its indirect effects on female bargaining power within the household, for all women that face abortion as an actual opportunity, without necessarily experiencing one. I focus on the indirect effect of abortion legalization in the United States on women's position in the household. My findings suggest that the legalization positively affected female bargaining power.