The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage
57 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2019 Last revised: 31 Oct 2019
Date Written: July 23, 2019
The 19th and 20th centuries saw a transformation in contraceptive technologies and their take up. This led to a sexual revolution, which witnessed a rise in premarital sex and out-of-wedlock births, and a decline in marriage. The impact of contraception on married and single life is analyzed here both theoretically and quantitatively. The analysis is conducted using a model where people search for partners. Upon finding one, they can choose between abstinence, marriage, and a premarital sexual relationship. The model is confronted with some stylized facts about premarital sex and marriage over the course of the 20th century. Some economic history is also presented.
Keywords: age of marriage, contraceptive technology, never-married population, number of partners, out-of-wedlock births, premarital sex, singles
JEL Classification: E1, J1, N3, 03
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