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Birth Control and the Rise in Female LFP: What Can We Learn from Women's Occupational Choices?


The rate at which young women enter managerial /professional occupations began to rise steadily in the early1960s, when oral contraceptives first became available in the US. The fact that young mothers are comparatively rare in these occupations suggests that the advent of more effective contraception may have played an important role in the occupational trend. This paper uses a lifecycle model of contraception, abortion and occupational choice to ask how much of the trends in women's LFP and occupational choice could be explained by the changes in birth-control technology since 1960. Preliminary results suggest that these effects are much larger than those of the destabilization of marriage or the advent of easier access to daycare.