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Putting teenagers on the pill: the consequences of subsidized contraception

  • Grönqvist, Hans


    (SOFI, Stockholm University)

This paper investigates the consequences of a series of Swedish policy changes beginning in 1989 where different regions started subsidizing the birth control pill. The reforms were significant and applied to all types of oral contraceptives. My identification strategy takes advantage of the fact that the reforms were implemented successively over time and targeted specific cohorts of young women, in particular teenagers. This generates plausibly exogenous variation in access to the subsidy. The paper first demonstrates that access significantly increased pill use. Using regional, temporal, and cohort variation in access, I then go on to examine the impact on abortions. The estimates show that the subsidy significantly decreased the abortion rate by about 8 percent. Furthermore, long-term access decreased the likelihood of teenage childbearing by about 20 percent. However, there is no significant effect on labor supply, marriage, educational attainment or welfare take-up.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2009:8.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 07 Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2009_008
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  1. Paul Gertler & John Molyneaux, 1994. "How economic development and family planning programs combined to reduce indonesian fertility," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 33-63, February.
  2. Martha J Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320, 02.
  3. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 159-84, Winter.
  4. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Early Childbearing," NBER Working Papers 13436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Helena Holmlund, 2005. "Estimating Long-Term Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: An Examination of the Siblings Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
  6. Hotz, V Joseph & Mullin, Charles H & Sanders, Seth G, 1997. "Bounding Causal Effects Using Data from a Contaminated Natural Experiment: Analysing the Effects of Teenage Childbearing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 575-603, October.
  7. Grönqvist, Hans, 2009. "Putting teenagers on the pill: the consequences of subsidized contraception," Working Paper Series 2009:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  8. Martha J. Bailey, 2010. ""Momma's Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped US Childbearing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 98-129, March.
  9. Paul Gertler & Jack Molyneaux, 1994. "Erratum to: How Economic Development and Family Planning Programs Combined to Reduce Indonesian Fertility," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages nil1-nil1, May.
  10. Grant Miller, 2005. "Contraception as Development? New Evidence from Family Planning in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 11704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083, August.
  13. Gordon B. Dahl, 2005. "Early Teen Marriage and Future Poverty," NBER Working Papers 11328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Åslund, Olof & Grönqvist, Hans, 2007. "Family size and child outcomes: Is there really no trade-off?," Working Paper Series 2007:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  15. Pritchett, Lant H. & DEC, 1994. "Desired fertility and the impact of population policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1273, The World Bank.
  16. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  17. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  18. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  20. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine, 2004. "Abortion Legalization and Lifecycle Fertility," NBER Working Papers 10705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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