Social Change

70 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008

See all articles by Jeremy Greenwood

Jeremy Greenwood

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nezih Guner

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2008

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: social change, sexual revolution, technological progress in contraceptives, bilateral search

JEL Classification: E1, J1, O3

Suggested Citation

Greenwood, Jeremy and Guner, Nezih, Social Change (May 2008). IZA Working Paper No. 3485. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136286 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Jeremy Greenwood (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-1505 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://jeremygreenwood.net

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Nezih Guner

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid ( email )

CL. de Madrid 126
Madrid, Madrid 28903
Spain

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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