Abortion ban and the next generation’s family formation decisions: Evidence from Romania

How did Romania’s abortion ban in 1966 shape the family formation decisions of the significantly larger cohort born as a consequence? Drawing on various theoretical frameworks and mechanisms, we analyse how the timing and decisions regarding family formation of the cohort born after the ban differed from those of the cohort born before. We exploit the discontinuity in birth rates induced by the ban and make use of two complementary data sources: the Romanian Census and the Generations and Gender Survey. Compared to their counterparts born before the ban, we find that while women born after the ban leave their parental home and get married later, men anticipate their first marriage. These gendered effects are mainly driven by women with lower and men with higher parental socioeconomic status. Our results underscore the long-term impact of an abortion ban on the next generation’s life course and highlight the importance of an intersectional approach in understanding its effects on family formation.