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The Pill and the College Attainment of American Women and Men

Author

Listed:
  • Heinrich Hock

    (Department of Economics, Florida State University)

Abstract

This paper considers the educational consequences of the increased ability of young women to delay childbearing as a result of the birth control pill. In order to identify the effects of the pill, I utilize quasi-experimental variation in U.S. state laws governing access to contraception among female adolescents during the 1960s and 1970s. Inference based on these laws indicates that unconstrained access to the pill increased female college enrollment rates by over 2 percentage points and reduced the dropout rate by over 5 percentage points. Further, early pill access led to a rise in college completion of approximately three quarters of a percentage point among women over the age of thirty. Finally, I analyze the outcomes of men in relation to the contraceptive laws, finding evidence that male educational opportunities also improved due to reductions in undesired early fertility among their female partners.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinrich Hock, 2007. "The Pill and the College Attainment of American Women and Men," Working Papers wp2007_10_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:fsu:wpaper:wp2007_10_01
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    File URL: https://coss.fsu.edu/econpapers/wpaper/wp2007_10_01.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2007-10
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Contraception & longevity
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2007-11-18 21:56:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Divorce and the birth control pill," MPRA Paper 35955, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Cragun, Randy, 2019. "Effects of lower ages of majority on oral contraceptive use: Evidence on the validity of The Power of the Pill," MPRA Paper 100871, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Jun 2020.
    5. Steingrimsdottir, Herdis, 2016. "Reproductive rights and the career plans of U.S. college freshmen," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 29-41.
    6. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
    7. Anna Aizer, 2017. "A Review Essay on Isabel Sawhill's Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenting without Marriage and Laurence Steinberg's Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(2), pages 592-608, June.
    8. Martha J. Bailey & Melanie Guldi & Brad J. Hershbein, 2014. "Is There a Case for a "Second Demographic Transition"? Three Distinctive Features of the Post-1960 U.S. Fertility Decline," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 273-312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Nayoung Rim, 2021. "The Effect of Title IX on Gender Disparity in Graduate Education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 40(2), pages 521-552, March.
    10. 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.
    11. Martha J. Bailey & Olga Malkova & Zoë M. McLaren, 2016. "Does Family Planning Increase Children’S Opportunities? Evidence From The War On Poverty And The Early Years Of Title X," Working Papers 16-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Martha J. Bailey, 2013. "Fifty Years of Family Planning: New Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 341-409.
    13. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Edlund, Lena & Machado, Cecilia, 2011. "Pill Power: The Prequel," IZA Discussion Papers 5468, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Martha Bailey & Olga Malkova & Zoë McLaren, 2016. "Does Family Planning Increase Children's Opportunities? Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Title X," Sciences Po publications 57, Sciences Po.
    16. Edlund, Lena & Machado, Cecilia, 2015. "How the other half lived: Marriage and emancipation in the age of the Pill," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 295-309.
    17. Steingrimsdottir, Herdis, 2020. "The decreased popularity of the teaching sector in the 1970s," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contraception; human capital; women; men;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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