The Effect of Changes in State and Federal Policy for Non-Prescription Access to Emergency Contraception on Youth Contraceptive Use: A Difference-in-Difference Analysis Across New England States
Contemporary Economic Policy, Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 19, 2013
One of the more contentious policy changes in the past decade in the United States involves the decisions by several state legislatures and the FDA to permit sales of emergency contraception on a non-prescription basis. We took advantage of a set of natural experiments to estimate the impact of changes in state and federal level non-prescription emergency contraception access on the probability high school students’ sexual and contraceptive behaviors. We extracted data from the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey for New England states that had data about contraceptive use (Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) from 2003 to 2009. We combined this student-level data with information on when states and the FDA began allowing non-prescription sales of EC. We estimated a series of difference-in-difference models on the impact of these policies on the probability that students were sexually active and on the probability of condom or hormonal birth control use conditional on sexual activity. We found that switching emergency contraception to a non-prescription status had no systematic effect on the probability of sexual activity or the conditional probability of hormonal birth control use, but that it significantly reduced the probability that public school students used condoms by between 5.2% and 7.2%.
Keywords: emergency contraception, contraceptive policy, youth sexual behaviors
JEL Classification: I12, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation