From Shame to Game in One Hundred Years: An Economic Model of the Rise in Premarital Sex and its De-Stigmatization

50 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2010

See all articles by Jesús Fernández-Villaverde

Jesús Fernández-Villaverde

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

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

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Abstract

Societies socialize children about many things, including sex. Socialization is costly. It uses scarce resources, such as time and effort. Parents weigh the marginal gains from socialization against its costs. Those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale indoctrinate their daughters less than others about the perils of premarital sex, because the latter will lose less from an out-of-wedlock birth. Modern contraceptives have profoundly affected the calculus for instilling sexual mores, leading to a de-stigmatization of sex. As contraception has become more effective there is less need for parents, churches and states to inculcate sexual mores. Technology affects culture.

Keywords: children, church and state, contraception, culture, parents, premarital sex, out-of-wedlock births, socialization, stigmatization, technological progress

JEL Classification: D1, J11, J12, J13, E1

Suggested Citation

Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús and Greenwood, Jeremy and Guner, Nezih, From Shame to Game in One Hundred Years: An Economic Model of the Rise in Premarital Sex and its De-Stigmatization. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4708. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1545135

Jesús Fernández-Villaverde (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

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Jeremy Greenwood

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Nezih Guner

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid ( email )

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Madrid, Madrid 28903
Spain

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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