Publication Title: 
Journal of Health Economics
Publication Date: 
Sunday, September 1, 2013

Parental involvement (PI) laws require that physicians notify or obtain consent from a parent(s) of a minor seeking an abortion before performing the procedure. Several studies suggest that PI laws curb risky sexual behavior because teens realize that they would be compelled to discuss a subsequent pregnancy with a parent. This study shows that prior evidence based on gonorrhea rates overlooked the frequent under-reporting of gonorrhea by race and ethnicity, and presents new evidence on the effects of PI laws using more current data on the prevalence of gonorrhea and data that are novel to this literature (i.e., chlamydia rates and data disaggregated by year of age).

This study also improves the credibility of the estimates over those in the existing literature using an event-study design in addition to standard difference-in-difference-in-differences (DDD) models. The findings consistently suggest no association between PI laws and rates of sexually transmitted infections or measures of sexual behavior.

Colman S, Dee TS, Joyce T. Do Parental Involvement Laws Deter Risky Teen Sex? Journal of Health Economics. September 2013, available online ahead of print.