NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fifty Years of Family Planning: New Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception

Martha J. Bailey

NBER Working Paper No. 19493
Issued in October 2013
NBER Program(s):   CH   DAE   HC   HE   LS

This paper assembles new evidence on some of the longer-term consequences of U.S. family planning policies, defined in this paper as those increasing legal or financial access to modern contraceptives. The analysis leverages two large policy changes that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s: first, the interaction of the birth control pill’s introduction with Comstock-era restrictions on the sale of contraceptives and the repeal of these laws after Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965; and second, the expansion of federal funding for local family planning programs from 1964 to 1973. Building on previous research that demonstrates both policies’ effects on fertility rates, I find suggestive evidence that individuals’ access to contraceptives increased their children’s college completion, labor force participation, wages, and family incomes decades later.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19493

Published: Martha J. Bailey, 2013. "Fifty Years of Family Planning: New Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 341-409. citation courtesy of

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