IWPR Launches New Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health

Press Release

August 15, 2018
Contact: Jennifer Clark | 202-785-5100 | clark@iwpr.org

Kelly Jones, Senior Research Economist at IWPR and Assistant Professor of Economics at American University, will lead the Center

Washington, DC—The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) announces today that it has launched a new Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health to conduct research on the economic impacts of reproductive health services.

The Center, supported with initial funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, will identify causal impacts of reproductive health policies and raise awareness of reproductive health issues in scholarly and policy debates on such topics as postsecondary education, workforce development, economic growth, community economic development, family poverty, workplace benefits, and public support programs.

Since 1996, IWPR has benchmarked and tracked each state’s progress on improving women’s reproductive rights as part of its signature Status of Women in the States project. IWPR has also analyzed these indicators across racial and ethnic groups to shed light on how discrimination and disparities in access to health resources seriously impair the reproductive health of women of color, who are also disproportionately low-income. With its new Center, IWPR will deepen the understanding of the economic impact of such reproductive health issues as access to contraception, abortion, fertility treatment, and maternal and child health services and draw attention to trends at the state level, where much of reproductive health policy is made.

The Center is led by new IWPR Senior Research Economist Kelly Jones, Ph.D.  As part of IWPR’s affiliation with American University’s Program on Gender Analysis in Economics, Dr. Jones will also join AU as an Assistant Professor of Economics. Dr. Jones is an applied microeconomist, whose past research has focused on evaluating the impacts of various policies and interventions on gender equality and welfare, including experimental analyses of women’s risk coping strategies in the face of financial shocks and their implications for women’s sexual and reproductive health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“I’m pleased to be joining the interdisciplinary team at IWPR and launching new research on the economics of reproductive health. Reproductive health policies can have significant implications for the welfare of women and their families. This has long been a focus of my international research and I think it is important to examine this linkage in the U.S. context as well. Clearly these are issues that will be of increasing interest to the national discussion over the coming years,” Dr. Jones said.

Economist and IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., also commented on the establishment of the new Center:

“IWPR specializes in producing and disseminating research that shifts local and national policy debates, specifically by exploring the impact of policies on pocketbooks. By establishing a new Center on the Economics of Reproductive Health, we at IWPR are building on our experience of moving contentious policy debates forward by applying economic analysis in the reproductive rights realm. Through compelling research that connects the dots between the economic benefits of reproductive health services and hot policy areas—such as family leave, paid sick days, and child care among others—IWPR will help ensure that these interconnected issue areas do not ignore the central role of reproductive freedom in achieving true economic equality.”

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences. IWPR is affiliated with the Program on Gender Analysis in Economics at American University.