Birth Control and Female Empowerment: An Equilibrium Analysis
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.
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