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The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages

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  • Martha J. Bailey
  • Brad Hershbein
  • Amalia R. Miller

Abstract

Decades of research on the U.S. gender gap in wages describes its correlates, but little is known about why women changed their career paths in the 1960s and 1970s. This paper explores the role of “the Pill” in altering women’s human capital investments and its ultimate implications for life-cycle wages. Using state-by-birth-cohort variation in legal access, we show that younger access to the Pill conferred an 8-percent hourly wage premium by age fifty. Our estimates imply that the Pill can account for 10 percent of the convergence of the gender gap in the 1980s and 30 percent in the 1990s.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17922.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Publication status: published as Martha J. Bailey & Brad Hershbein & Amalia R. Miller, 2012. "The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 225-54, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17922

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Martha J. Bailey & Melanie E. Guldi & Brad J. Hershbein, 2013. "Is There A Case for a "Second Demographic Transition"? Three Distinctive Features of the Post-1960 U.S. Fertility Decline," NBER Working Papers 19599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Werner Bönte & Stefan Krabel, 2014. "You can’t always get what you want: Gender Differences in Job Satisfaction of University Graduates," Schumpeter Discussion Papers, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library SDP14007, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  3. Paul Beaudry & Ethan Lewis, 2012. "Do Male-Female Wage Di fferentials Reflect Diff erences in the Return to Skill? Cross-City Evidence From 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 18159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martha J. Bailey, 2014. "Fifty Years Of Family Planning: New Evidence On The Long-Run Effects Of Increasing Access To Contraception," Working Papers, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau 14-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Machado, Cecilia, 2012. "Selection, Heterogeneity and the Gender Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 7005, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Martha J. Bailey & Brad Hershbein & Amalia R. Miller, 2012. "The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages," NBER Working Papers 17922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Erik Hurst & Charles I. Jones & Peter J. Klenow, 2013. "The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 18693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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