The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions
The fraction of U.S. college graduate women entering professional programs increased substantially just after 1970, and the age at first marriage among all U.S. college graduate women began to soar around the same year. We explore the relationship between these two changes and the diffusion of the birth control pill (â€œthe pillâ€ ) among young, unmarried college graduate women. Although the pill was approved in 1960 by the Food and Drug Administration and spread rapidly among married women, it did not diffuse among young, single women until the late 1960s after state law changes reduced the age of majority and extended â€œmature minorâ€ decisions. We present both descriptive time series and formal econometric evidence that exploit crossâ€ state and crossâ€ cohort variation in pill availability to young, unmarried women, establishing the â€œpower of the pillâ€ in lowering the costs of longâ€ duration professional education for women and raising the age at first marriage.
|Date of creation:||2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Journal of Political Economy|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138|
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