Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Opt-In Revolution

Another perspective on why reproductive justice in general - and access to contraception in particular - is an economic issue, not just a fringe political issue: The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception And The Gender Gap In Wages. An excerpt:
In 2003, Lisa Belkin’s New York Times Magazine article, “The Opt-Out Revolution,” reopened the debate about the reasons for persistent differences in women’s and men’s labor market outcomes. In particular, she argued that the women who might have been the professional equals of men chose not to be—these women “opted out” to raise their children. Shang and Weinberg (2009) find some evidence that college graduate women have begun to have more children, but these changes seem small relative to the Opt-In Revolution that began 50 years ago.
This paper quantifies the role of the Pill in catalyzing this revolution. As the Pill provided women with cheaper and more effective control over childbearing in late adolescence, they invested more in their human capital and careers. Most affected were women in the middle of the IQ distribution and with some college, who experienced remarkable wage gains over their lifetimes. To put our results into perspective, the Pill-induced effects on wages amount to roughly one-third of the total wage gains for women in their forties born from the mid-1940s to early 1950s.31 Our decomposition shows that almost two thirds of these Pill-induced gains (at the mean) can be attributed to increasing labor-market experience and another third is due to greater educational attainment and occupational upgrading.

Thoughts?

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous11/12/2012

    Of course it's an economic issue, and a humanitarian issue. But I doubt that the crowd that continuously frames it as a fringe social issue is going to be swayed by research like this. For them it's a religious issue, and one on which they can never budge.

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    1. I agree with that, but I do think that their framing it as a friinge social issue has an impact on many who would vote for them. I think there are a lot of people who would tend to vote conservative for fiscal but not social reasons. They may not have any strong religious convictions about this, but because the politicians they follow frame the issue this way, it may never occur to them that it's more than that.

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  2. But it doesn't impact men, so how can it be an economic issue?!?!?

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    1. Ah, but it does. Any economic drag on one group will have something of an impact overall. We can also assume that husbands and boyfriends and sons of straight women are directly impacted.

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  3. Anonymous11/15/2012

    But wage gains for women are bad! Wage gains make women abandon their children and become lesbians.

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  4. But didn't you hear that having babies is the single most important thing women can do to boost the economy?

    More Babies Please.

    It's a great read!

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    1. Agreed. That was a fanstastic read. I needed a good laugh.

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