The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages

44 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2012

See all articles by Martha J. Bailey

Martha J. Bailey

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics

Brad Hershbein

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

Amalia R. Miller

University of Virginia - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2012

Abstract

Decades of research on the U.S. gender gap in wages describes its correlates, but little is known about why women changed their career paths in the 1960s and 1970s. This paper explores the role of "the Pill" in altering women's human capital investments and its ultimate implications for life-cycle wages. Using state-by-birth-cohort variation in legal access, we show that younger access to the Pill conferred an 8-percent hourly wage premium by age fifty. Our estimates imply that the Pill can account for 10 percent of the convergence of the gender gap in the 1980s and 30 percent in the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Martha Jane and Hershbein, Brad and Miller, Amalia R., The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages (March 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w17922. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2027804

Martha Jane Bailey (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States

Brad Hershbein

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research ( email )

Amalia R. Miller

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.virginia.edu/~am5by/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
38
Abstract Views
719
PlumX Metrics