Access to the Birth Control Pill and the Career Plans of Young Men and Women

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The paper explores the effect of unrestricted access to the birth control pill on young people’s career plans, using annual surveys of college freshmen from 1968 to 1980. In particular it addresses the question of who was affected by the introduction of the birth control pill by looking at career plans of both men and women, and by separating the effect by level of academic ability, race and family income. The results show that unrestricted access to the pill caused high ability women to move towards occupations with higher wages, higher occupational prestige scores and higher male ratios. The estimated effects for women with low grades and from low selectivity colleges are in the opposite direction. Men were also affected by unrestricted access to the pill, as their aspirations shifted towards traditionally male dominated occupations, across all
ability groups. The biggest effect of unrestricted access to the pill is found to be on non-white students, both among men and women. The paper uses Census Data to compare the changes in career plans to actual changes in labor market outcomes. When looking at the actual career outcomes, early access to the pill affects both men and women - shifting their careers towards traditionally male dominated occupations associated with higher wages. Early access to the pill is also associated with significantly higher actual income for men.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventBrown Bag Seminar 2012 - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2 Feb 20122 Feb 2012


SeminarBrown Bag Seminar 2012
LocationLund University
Internet address

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