The Impact of Emergency Contraception on Dating and Marriage
I study the effects of improvements in contraception on premarital sexual behavior, pregnancy, and marriage. I develop a model where individuals date before marrying in order to learn about relationship quality. While dating, individuals face the risk of pregnancy or contracting a sexually-transmitted infection (STI). The model predicts that contraceptive improvements increase the number of sexual partners, increase sexual acts, increase STI rates, and, under certain conditions, delay marriages and lower single motherhood rates. I use changes in states' over-the-counter (OTC) sales policies for emergency contraception as a natural experiment in varying access to contraceptive technology. Using multiple sources of data on birth rates, STIs, marriages, and sexual activity, I confirm the predictions of the model and find that OTC policies have a significant impact on sexual behavior and relationships.
|Date of creation:||01 May 2011|
|Date of revision:|
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