Sex, Drugs, and Baby Booms: Can Behavior Overcome Biology?

49 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2018

See all articles by Michele Baggio

Michele Baggio

University of Connecticut

Alberto Chong

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Department of Economics; Institute for Corruption Studies

David Simon

University of Connecticut

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

We study the behavioral changes due to marijuana consumption on fertility and its key mechanisms, as opposed to physiological changes. We can employ several large proprietary data sets, including the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Nielsen Retail Scanner database, as well as the Vital Statistics Natality files and apply a differences-in-differences approach by exploiting the timing of the introduction of medical marijuana laws among states. We first replicate the earlier literature by showing that marijuana use increases after the passage of medical marijuana laws. Our novel results reveal that birth rates increased after the passage of a law corresponding to increased frequency of sexual intercourse, decreased purchase of condoms and suggestive evidence on decreased condom use during sex. More sex and less contraceptive use may be attributed to behavioral responses such as increased attention to the immediate hedonic effects of sexual contact, delayed discounting and ignoring costs associated with risky sex. These findings are consistent with a large observational literature linking marijuana use with increased sexual activity and multiple partners. Our findings are robust to a broad set of tests.

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Suggested Citation

Baggio, Michele and Chong, Alberto and Simon, David, Sex, Drugs, and Baby Booms: Can Behavior Overcome Biology? (November 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25208. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3278508

Michele Baggio (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Alberto Chong

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

David Simon

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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