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Social Change

Jeremy Greenwood and Nezih Guner ()

No 3485, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: A society is characterized by the common attitudes and behavior of its members. Such behavior reflects 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 females 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.

Keywords: sexual revolution; technological progress in contraceptives; social change; bilateral search (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E1 J1 O3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev and nep-evo
Date: 2008-05
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (9) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in: International Economic Review, 2010, 51(4), 893-923

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Working Paper: Social Change (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Social Change (2006) Downloads
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