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American Economic Review: Vol. 100 No. 1 (March 2010)

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"Momma's Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped US Childbearing

Article Citation

Bailey, Martha J. 2010. ""Momma's Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped US Childbearing." American Economic Review, 100(1): 98-129.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.1.98

Abstract

The 1960s ushered in a new era in US demographic history characterized by significantly lower fertility rates and smaller family sizes. What catalyzed these changes remains a matter of considerable debate. This paper exploits idiosyncratic variation in the language of "Comstock" statutes, enacted in the late 1800s, to quantify the role of the birth control pill in this transition. Almost 50 years after the contraceptive pill appeared on the US market, this analysis provides new evidence that it accelerated the post-1960 decline in marital fertility. (JEL J12, J13, K10, N31, N32)

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Authors

Bailey, Martha J. (U MI)

JEL Classifications

J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
K10: Basic Areas of Law: General (Constitutional Law)
N31: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Religion: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
N32: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Religion: U.S.; Canada: 1913-


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