Review Of "Sex And Consequences: Abortion, Public Policy, And The Economics Of Fertility" By P. B. Levine

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Readers unfamiliar with the academic economic publications of Levine (Wellesley College) will find his approach to analyzing the relationship between behavior and the availability of abortion (and variations in the stringency of abortion policy) novel and intriguing. He analyzes the availability of abortion as a form of insurance: like other types of insurance, it protects against risk, and its availability may lead to behavioral changes such as the willingness to engage in riskier behavior than would otherwise be the case. The careful analysis of this theoretical model, built on the assumption of rational behavior, and its empirical tests, yields interesting and sometimes surprising findings. In his discussion the author recognizes that, although his findings can shed light on the abortion debate, they do not provide a single policy solution. The work is aimed at a general audience, and Levine does a thorough job of providing the institutional (both domestic and international) and analytical background to make the work accessible to economists as well as to readers not trained in economics. Also included is a thorough discussion of related questions still to be answered. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Public, academic, upper-division undergraduate and up, and professional collections.


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