The Pill and Men’s Disappearance from the Teaching Sector

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


In this paper I look at the relationship between increased access to reliable fertility controls and men’s disappearance from teaching. As the pill has been found to have a substantial effect on women’s family responsibilities, career investments and labor market outcomes, men’s bargaining position in the marriage market is likely to have changed considerably. Teaching stands out among the career choices of male college freshmen in terms of average income and prestige. The effect of the shift in bargaining power on men’s career choices is hence likely to be prominent in the teaching sector. Between 1968 and 1980, the ratio of male college freshmen planning to become a teacher fell from 12.4% to 2.4% and the share of males among those who aspired to teach dropped from 30.6% to 19.7%. Using nationally representative data on the career plans of college freshmen I find that unrestricted access to the birth control pill bears a negative relation to the likelihood that men plan to teach, while changes in the strength of teacher unions and relative wages of teachers have limited effect on their career plans. Men’s aspirations shift away from teaching towards occupations that are associated with higher average income like accounting and computer programming. The results are supported by equivalent findings looking at actual career outcomes in the Census Data.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventThe 18th Annual Meetings of the Society of Labour Economists. SOLE 2013 - Sheraton Boston Hotel , Boston, United States
Duration: 3 May 20134 May 2013
Conference number: 18


ConferenceThe 18th Annual Meetings of the Society of Labour Economists. SOLE 2013
LocationSheraton Boston Hotel
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

Cite this