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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
    DOI: 10.1086/529409
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    1. M. Browning & P. A. Chiappori, 1998. "Efficient Intra-Household Allocations: A General Characterization and Empirical Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1241-1278, November.
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    3. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
    4. Sonia Oreffice, 2007. "Did the legalization of abortion increase women’s household bargaining power? Evidence from labor supply," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 181-207, June.
    5. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    6. 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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