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

59 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2019

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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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, 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, history, never-married population, number of partners, out-of-wedlock births, premarital sex, singles

JEL Classification: J11, J12, N3, O3

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. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12760, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3488187 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3488187

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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