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Exploring the Determinants of Changes in 20th Century North American Childbearing

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Martha J. Bailey

Recent work in economics has emphasized the role of the birth control pill in changing fertility, marriage and women’s labor-force participation. This literature relies upon variation in the age of legal consent, which should have impacted young women’s ability to obtain oral contraceptives. Although results are consistent with these laws affecting Pill use, no known publicly-available dataset allows researchers to study directly the impact of these legal changes on the use of contraception or sexual behavior. Using five cycles of the restricted National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), this project (1) evaluates the validity of alternative coding assumptions employed in different studies and (2) use the preferred legal coding to examine the impact of early legal access to the Pill on young women’s sexual behavior and contraceptive use—outcomes that could not be explored in past studies due to data limitations.

Funding Period: 04/01/2009 to 06/30/2010

Countries of Focus: Canada, USA

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