Author(s)  
Jeremy Greenwood
Nezih Guner
Karen Kopecky
The 19th and 20th centuries saw a transformation in contraceptive technologies and their take up. This led to a sexual revolution, which witnessed a rise in premarital sex and out-of-wedlock births, and a decline in marriage. The impact of contraception on married and single life is analyzed here both theoretically and quantitatively. The analysis is conducted using a model where people search for partners. Upon finding one, they can choose between abstinence, a premarital sexual relationship, and marriage. The model is confronted with some stylized facts about premarital sex and marriage over the course of the 20th century. Some economic history is also presented.
Publication Type  
Working Paper
File Description  
First version, May 2020
JEL Codes  
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
N32: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: 1913-
N31: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
Keywords  
age of marriage
contraceptive technology
history
never-married population
number of partners
out-of-wedlock births
premarital sex
singles