The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage

59 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2019 Last revised: 28 Feb 2022

See all articles by Jeremy Greenwood

Jeremy Greenwood

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

Nezih Guner

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI)

Karen A. Kopecky

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

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Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

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, a premarital sexual relationship, and marriage. 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.

Suggested Citation

Greenwood, Jeremy and Guner, Nezih and Kopecky, Karen A., The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage (October 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26410, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3476490

Jeremy Greenwood (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
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HOME PAGE: http://jeremygreenwood.net

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Nezih Guner

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI) ( email )

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Spain

Karen A. Kopecky

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta ( email )

1000 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309-4470
United States

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