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Birth Control and Female Empowerment: An Equilibrium Analysis

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  • Pierre-André Chiappori
  • Sonia Oreffice

Abstract

We analyze, from a theoretical perspective, the impact of innovations in birth control technology on intrahousehold allocation of resources. We consider a model of frictionless matching on the marriage market in which men, as well as women, differ in their preferences for children; moreover, men, unlike women, must marry to enjoy fatherhood. We show that more efficient birth control technologies generally increase the "power," hence the welfare, of all women, including those who do not use them. This "empowerment" effect requires that the new technology be available to single women. An innovation reserved to married women may result in a "disempowerment" effect. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice, 2008. "Birth Control and Female Empowerment: An Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 113-140, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:1:p:113-140
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    1. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
    2. Grossbard, Shoshana, 1976. "An economic analysis of polygamy," MPRA Paper 81135, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
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