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

Jeremy Greenwood, Nezih Guner () and Karen Kopecky
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Jeremy Greenwood: University of Pennsylvania
Nezih Guner: CEMFI

No 2020-032, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

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, a premarital sexual relationship, and marriage. 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.

Keywords: age of marriage; contraceptive technology; history; never-married population; number of partners; out-of-wedlock births; premarital sex; singles (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 J13 N32 N31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dge and nep-his
Note: FI
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http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Greenw ... ive-tech-decline.pdf First version, May 2020 (application/pdf)

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