NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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

Martha J. Bailey

NBER Working Paper No. 14675
Issued in January 2009
NBER Program(s):   DAE

The 1960s ushered in a new era in U.S. 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 fifty years after the contraceptive pill appeared on the U.S. market, this analysis provides new evidence that it accelerated the post-1960 decline in marital fertility.

download in pdf format
   (575 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (575 K) or via email.

A data appendix is available at http://www.nber.org/data-appendix/w14675

This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14675

Published: "Momma's Got the Pill: How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped U.S Childbearing," American Economic Review, 100 (1), March 2010: 98-129. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Bailey w19493 Fifty Years of Family Planning: New Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception
Bailey, Hershbein, and Miller w17922 The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages
Bailey w17343 Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on U.S. Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X
Bailey and Collins w14641 Did Improvements in Household Technology Cause the Baby Boom? Evidence from Electrification, Appliance Diffusion, and the Amish
Goldin and Katz w7527 The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us