Department of Economics and Business Economics

Can technological change account for the sexual revolution?

Research output: Working paperResearch


  • Wp13 07

    Submitted manuscript, 1.88 MB, PDF document

  • John Kennes
  • John Knowles, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
By reducing the risk of unwanted parenthood, more effective contraception reduces the cost of sex outside of marriage, increasing the value of single life. Could this explain why marriage and birth rates declined in the U.S. after 1970?. We illustrate our hypothesis with a one-period example. We then extend the analysis to allow for repeated matching over many periods, modeling the shotgun-marriage, contraception- method and abortion margins. We use US survey data on contraception, sexual activity and family dynamics to calibrate the model for the 1970s, and then compute the effects of liberalizing access to contraception and abortion. The results suggest the hypothesis can explain 60% of the behavioral shifts associated with the sexual revolution.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherInstitut for Økonomi, Aarhus Universitet
Number of pages55
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2013
SeriesEconomics Working Papers

    Research areas

  • Two-Sided Search, Family, Family Economics, Household Formation, Marriage, Marriage Rate, Premarital, Single Mother, Single Parent, Fertility

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 53548388