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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade with its wildly unpopular ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is being analyzed from a human rights standpoint as well as from a legal standpoint and a medical standpoint. The Dobbs ruling will also have economic consequences, and according to Axios reporter Emily Peck, economists are “racing to study” the “impact” that Roe’s demise will have in the United States.

Peck, in an article published by Axios on July 5, reports that economists are “examining the fallout on women's lives across a range of factors, from health to finances.”

“There's a raft of research on the impact of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, but the work didn't get seriously underway until the late 1980s,” Peck explains. “Now, because of advances in technology and research methods — and because the profession has evolved to study ‘women's issues’ — researchers will move more quickly. Their studies can help policymakers and healthcare providers adjust to the post-Roe landscape.”

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Peck notes that “about half the states in the country are expected to ban or heavily restrict abortion,” while “the rest won’t.” And economists, according to Peck, will be examining the economic impact in the states that outlaw abortion or greatly restrict abortion compared to the ones that don’t.

Caitlin Knowles Myers, an economist at Middlebury College in Vermont, is “known for her work on abortion,” according to Peck — and Myers told Axios that her e-mail has been “absolutely flooded” with requests from social scientists looking for data.

“What we're looking at is a natural experiment of a magnitude we haven't seen since the Roe era,” Myers told Axios.

Similarly, Kathryn Anne Edwards, an economist for the Rand Corporation, told Axios, “Everyone under the rainbow is going to be publishing on this.”

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Researchers, according to Peck, will be “crafting studies” on “the health fallout for women” and what will “happen” with “abortion rates.”

“Economists will, of course, also look at economics,” Peck notes. “Some household financial impact will happen quickly. For example, pregnancy can force women out of work, and have an immediate effect on families. The (New York Times) profiles a bookkeeper in Texas who was earning $35/hour, but couldn't access an abortion in Texas. Pregnancy complications forced her out of work. She now relies on a charity program for help.”

Peck adds, “Other economic outcomes on labor force participation, earnings and career advancements will take longer to unspool, said David Slusky, an economics professor at the University of Kansas, who studied the effects of COVID clinic shutdowns on women and is now using the same methodology to look at Dobbs.”

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