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The Power of the Pill for the Next Generation: Oral Contraception's Effects on Fertility, Abortion, and Maternal and Child Characteristics

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  • Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat

    (Duke University and NBER)

  • Daniel M. Hungerman

    (University of Notre Dame and NBER)

Abstract

This paper considers how the diffusion of oral contraception to young unmarried women affected the number and parental characteristics of children born to these women. In the short term, pill access caused declines in fertility and increases in both the share of children born with low birthweight and the share born to poor households. In the long term, access led to negligible changes in fertility while increasing the share of children with college-educated mothers and decreasing the share with divorced mothers. The short-term effects appear to be driven by upwardly mobile women opting out of early childbearing, while the long-term effects appear to be driven by a retiming of births to later ages. These effects differ from those of abortion legalization, although we find suggestive evidence that pill diffusion lowered abortions. Our results suggest that abortion and the pill are on average used for different purposes by different women, but on the margin, some women substitute from abortion toward the pill when both are available. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2012. "The Power of the Pill for the Next Generation: Oral Contraception's Effects on Fertility, Abortion, and Maternal and Child Characteristics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 37-51, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:1:p:37-51
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maoyong Fan & Yanhong Jin, 2015. "Singleton status and childhood obesity: Investigating effects and mechanisms Status :," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(4), pages 2126-2140.
    2. Grant Miller & Christine Valente, 2016. "Population Policy: Abortion and Modern Contraception Are Substitutes," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 979-1009, August.
    3. David Canning & Declan French & Michael Moore, 2016. "The Economics of Fertility Timing: An Euler Equation Approach," CHaRMS Working Papers 16-03, Centre for HeAlth Research at the Management School (CHaRMS).
    4. Martha Bailey & Olga Malkova & Zoë M. McLaren, 2017. "Does Parents' Access to Family Planning Increase Children's Opportunities? Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," Working Papers 2017-083, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    5. 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 225-254, July.
    6. Raiber, Eva, 2017. "Expected Fertility and Educational Investment: Evidence from the One-Child-Policy in China," TSE Working Papers 17-853, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    7. Steingrimsdottir, Herdis, 2016. "Reproductive rights and the career plans of U.S. college freshmen," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 29-41.
    8. Martha J. Bailey & Olga Malkova & Zoë M. McLaren, 2017. "Does Parents’ Access to Family Planning Increase Children’s Opportunities? Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," NBER Working Papers 23971, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Inna Cintina, 2013. "Behind-the-counter, but Over-the-border? The Assessment of the Geographical Spillover Effect of Increased Access to Emergency Contraception," Working Papers 201319, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    10. Dills, Angela K. & Grecu, Anca M., 2017. "Effects of state contraceptive insurance mandates," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 30-42.
    11. Nayoung Rim, 2017. "The Effect of Title IX on Gender Disparity in Graduate Education," Departmental Working Papers 58, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    12. Mølland, Eirin, 2016. "Benefits from delay? The effect of abortion availability on young women and their children," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 6-28.
    13. Edlund, Lena Cecilia & Machado, Cecilia, 2009. "Marriage and Emancipation in The Age of The Pill," CEPR Discussion Papers 7485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Hussey, Andrew & Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Walker, Jay, 2010. "AIDing Contraception: HIV and Recent Trends in Abortion Rates," MPRA Paper 20895, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Martha J. Bailey & Olga Malkova & Zoe M. McLaren, 2017. "Does Parents’ Access To Family Planning Increase Children’S Opportunities? Evidence From The War On Poverty And The Early Years Of Title X," Working Papers 17-67, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    16. Sayaka Nakamura, 2016. "Determinants of contraceptive choice among Japanese women: ten years after the pill approval," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 553-575, September.
    17. Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2012. "Power of the Pill or Power of Abortion? Re-Examining the Effects of Young Women's Access to Reproductive Control," IZA Discussion Papers 6661, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Guldi, Melanie, 2016. "Title IX and the education of teen mothers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 103-116.
    19. Martha J. Bailey & Jason M. Lindo, 2017. "Access and Use of Contraception and Its Effects on Women’s Outcomes in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 23465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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