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The Pill and Partnerships: The impact of the birth control pill on cohabitation

  • Finn Christensen

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Towson University)

This paper investigates the impact on cohabitation behavior of the introduction and dispersion of the birth control pill in the US during the 1960s and early 1970s. A theoretical model generates several predictions that are tested using the first wave of the National Survey of Families and Households. Empirically, the causal effect is identified by exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in state laws granting access to the pill to unmarried women under age 21. The evidence shows that the pill was a catalyst that increased cohabitation's role in selecting marriage partners, but did little in the short run to promote cohabitation as a substitute for marriage.

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File URL: http://webapps.towson.edu/cbe/economics/workingpapers/2010-02.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Towson University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2010-02.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision: Feb 2010
Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2010-02
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Towson, Maryland 21252-0001

Phone: 410-704-2959
Fax: 410-704-3424
Web page: http://www.towson.edu/cbe/departments/economics/

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  1. Steven Stern & Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard, 1999. "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce in a Model of Match Quality," Virginia Economics Online Papers 322, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and divorce: changes and their driving forces," Working Paper Series 2007-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Scholarly Articles 2624453, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Justin Wolfers, 2003. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," NBER Working Papers 10014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
  6. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
  7. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice, 2008. "Birth Control and Female Empowerment: An Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 113-140, 02.
  8. Melanie Guldi, 2008. "Fertility effects of abortion and birth control pill access for minors," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 45(4), pages 817-827, November.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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