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The Contraceptive Revolution and the Second Demographic Transition: An Economic Model of Sex, Fertility, and Marriage

Listed author(s):
  • Joseph Burke


    (Department of Economics, Ave Maria University)

  • Catherine Pakaluk


    (Department of Economics and Business, Ave Maria University)

We present a model of household decisions regarding sex, fertility, marriage, and consumption. Households choose marital status based on the expected utility of marriage, and then sex, children, and consumption of other goods to maximize utility subject to a budget and a fertility constraint. An increase in contraceptive efficacy generally leads to increased sexual activity but has ambiguous effects on fertility. Also, increases in contraceptive efficacy lead to lower marriage rates and higher divorce rates. The predictions correspond to the features of the Second Demographic Transition, including declining overall fertility rates, increasing non-marital fertility, and the decline in marriage.

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File Function: First version, 2010
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Paper provided by Ave Maria University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1003.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision: May 2012
Handle: RePEc:avm:wpaper:1003
Note: Title change in January 2011
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5050 Ave Maria Boulevard, Ave Maria, Florida 34142-9505

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