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The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage

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Listed:
  • Greenwood, Jeremy

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Guner, Nezih

    () (CEMFI, Madrid)

  • Kopecky, Karen A.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

Abstract

The 19th and 20th centuries saw a transformation in contraceptive technologies and their take up. This led to a sexual revolution, which witnessed a rise in premarital sex and out-of-wedlock births, and a decline in marriage. The impact of contraception on married and single life is analyzed here both theoretically and quantitatively. The analysis is conducted using a model where people search for partners. Upon finding one, they can choose between abstinence, marriage, and a premarital sexual relationship. The model is confronted with some stylized facts about premarital sex and marriage over the course of the 20th century. Some economic history is also presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Greenwood, Jeremy & Guner, Nezih & Kopecky, Karen A., 2019. "The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 12760, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12760
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    age of marriage; contraceptive technology; history; never-married population; number of partners; out-of-wedlock births; premarital sex; singles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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