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Social Change

  • Jeremy Greenwood
  • Nezih Guner

Social norms are influenced by the technological environment that a society faces. Behavioral modes reflect purposive decision making by individuals, given the environment they live in. Thus, as technology changes, so might social norms. There were big changes in social norms during the 20th century, especially in sexual mores. In 1900 only six percent of unwed women engaged in premarital sex. Now, three quarters do. It is argued here that this was the result of technological improvement in contraceptives, which lowered the cost of premarital sex. The evolution from an abstinent to a promiscuous society is studied using an equilibrium matching model

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 79.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:79
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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