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Birth control and women's empowerment

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  1. Birth control and women's empowerment Pierre Andre Chiappori Sonia Oreffice Conference: The economics of the family London, September 2006

  2. Introduction: Abortion and ‘Female Empowerment’ General view: abortion as ‘empowering’ women • Common claim in feminist and sociological literatures • However, not obvious: clearly some women are made better off, but should we expect all women to benefit from the reform? • In particular: • What about women who want children / exclude abortion? • What impact on the ‘market for marriage’? • What consequences on intrahousehold allocations?

  3. Introduction: Abortion and ‘Female Empowerment’ General view: abortion as ‘empowering’ women • Common claim in feminist and sociological literatures • However, not obvious: clearly some women are made better off, but should we expect all women to benefit from the reform? • In particular: • What about women who want children? • What impact on the ‘market for marriage’? • What consequences on intrahousehold allocations?

  4. This paper • Marriage as matching (as opposed to bargaining) • Identical men; women differ in their preferences for children • Abortion as exogenous change in birth control technology

  5. This paper • Marriage as matching (as opposed to bargaining) • Identical men; women differ in their preferences for children • Abortion as exogenous change in birth control technology Conclusions • Two cases (which side in excess supply?), various regimes • Women in excess supply: all women benefit in general • Crucial conditions: technology available to single as well • Plus: comparative statics • Difference with bargaining: the commitment issue

  6. Related work • Akerlof, Yellen and Katz (1996) on out-of-wedlock child bearing in the United States (‘shotgun marriages’) • Related issues, different approach • Major differences: • ‘Change in social norms’ • Intrahousehold allocation as exogenous in AYK, whereas endogeneity crucial here

  7. Related work • Akerlof, Yellen and Katz (1996) on out-of-wedlock child bearing in the United States (‘shotgun marriages’) • Related issues, different approach • Major differences: • ‘Change in social norms’ • Intrahousehold allocation as exogenous in AYK, whereas endogeneity crucial here • Neal (2004): matching model • Similar approach; different emphasis • ‘Collective’ models of household behavior • Same family • Idea: endogeneize the sharing rule • Examples: Chiappori-Iyigun-Weiss

  8. The model • Continuum of men and women; one private commodity → intrahousehold allocation of consumption an issue; children • Men all identical; quasi linear utility if married; zero utility of children if single. • Women: quasi linear utility where u distributed of [0,U], density f; note that utility is transferable. • Unwanted pregnancies, probability p • Income: men Y, women y without children, z < y with children

  9. The model • Continuum of men and women; one private commodity → intrahousehold allocation of consumption an issue; children • Men all identical; quasi linear utility if married; zero utility of children if single. • Women: quasi linear utility where u distributed of [0,U], density f; note that utility is transferable. • Unwanted pregnancies, probability p • Income: men Y, women y without children, z < y with children • Frictionless marriage market (matching model); surplus generated by children → equilibria as stable matches • Mass 1 of women, M of men → excess supply of women if M < 1

  10. Fertility decisions • Single women • If u < y – z = ū : no children • Otherwise: children

  11. Fertility decisions • Single women • If u < y – z = ū : no children • Otherwise: children • Couples • Efficiency: children if maximizes total surplus • Hence: children if u >

  12. Fertility decisions • Single women • If u < y – z = ū : no children • Otherwise: children • Couples • Efficiency: children if maximizes total surplus • Hence: children if u > • Hence three types of women (depending on preferences): • ‘low’: u < u • ‘intermediate’: u < u < ū • ‘high’: u > ū

  13. Fertility decisions • Single women • If u < y – z = ū : no children • Otherwise: children • Couples • Efficiency: children if maximizes total surplus • Hence: children if u > • Hence three types of women (depending on preferences): • ‘low’: u < unever want a child • ‘intermediate’: u < u < ū want a child only when married • ‘high’: u > ūalways want a child

  14. Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u Stable match: excess supply of women Basic graph: husband’s maximal utility (as a function of u) H I L

  15. Married Singles Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u(M) u Stable match: excess supply of women Basic graph: husband’s maximal utility (as a function of u) Number of males

  16. Married Singles Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u(M) u Stable match: excess supply of women Basic graph: husband’s maximal utility (as a function of u) Number of males

  17. Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u Hence: three cases Small excess supply of women (SESW)

  18. Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u Hence: three cases Intermediate excess supply of women (IESW)

  19. Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u Hence: three cases Large excess supply of women (LESW)

  20. Hence three regimes • ‘Large’ ESW → marginal woman high type. • Some H women not matched → out-of-wedlock births • No surplus

  21. Hence three regimes • ‘Large’ ESW → marginal woman high type. • Some H women not matched → out-of-wedlock births • No surplus • ‘Intermediate’ ESW → marginal woman intermediate type • Marginal woman: u(M) with • No out-of-wedlock birth unless unwanted; all married couples have children • Surplus for all married women, increases with M, max for high type

  22. Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u Intermediate excess supply of women (IESW) u(M)

  23. Hence three regimes • ‘Large’ ESW → marginal woman high type. • Some H women not matched → out-of-wedlock births • No surplus • ‘Intermediate’ ESW → marginal woman intermediate type • Marginal woman: u(M) with • No out-of-wedlock birth unless unwanted; all married couples have children • Surplus for all married women, increases with M, max for high type • ‘Small’ ESW → marginal woman low type • No out-of-wedlock birth unless unwanted; some married couples don’t have children • Surplus for all married women, independent of M, max for high.

  24. Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u Small excess supply of women (IESW) u(M)

  25. Excess Supply of Men At any stable equilibrium: • All women married, receive all the surplus • ‘High’ and ‘intermediate’ types have children • ‘Low’ type don’t.

  26. Comparative statics: income • Women’s welfare non decreasing in y and z. • Assume, for instance, a proportional increase in y and z. Then: • Less H, more L → fertility decreases • The equilibrium may switch (from LESW to IESW to SESW) → larger rents for women, smaller for men → In a sense, income growth alleviates ESW

  27. u u u u(M)

  28. u u u u(M)

  29. Comparative statics: cutting male supply • Within each regime: • No impact if LESW or SESW • IESW: higher u(M)reduces female surplus

  30. Married Singles Y + uH Y + p.uH u(M)

  31. Married Singles Y + uH Y + p.uH u(M)

  32. Comparative statics: cutting male supply • Within each regime: • No impact if LESW or SESW • IESW: higher u(M)reduces female surplus • Change of regime: • All women lose • From IESW to LESW: reduces total fertility, increases out-of-wedlock fertility.

  33. Y + uH Y + p.uH u u u From IESW to LESW

  34. Single parent benefits • More high type women → fertility increases • May change regime to LESW → out-of-wedlock fertility increases • Welfare: within a constant regime • All women gain • Married women (who do not receive the benefit) may gain more (per capita) than most singles. • Men lose the same amount. • If regime changes: more complex

  35. Application: the US over three decades Major trends:

  36. Application: the US over three decades Major trends:1. Per capita benefits increase then decrease

  37. Benefits Source: Moffit JEL 1992

  38. Application: the US over three decades Major trends:1. Per capita benefits increase then decrease 2. Drop in the ‘supply’ of black, HS drop-out males

  39. Source: U.S. Department of Justice

  40. Source: U.S. Department of Justice

  41. Source: Western-Pettit, ILRR 2000

  42. Source: Neal JHR 2004

  43. Source: Neal JHR 2004

  44. Source: Neal JHR 2004

  45. Hence: • Benefits: • Inverted U-shape • Note that the impact is not differentiated by race • Supply of male: • Strong reduction of male supply… • … concentrated on young, black, HS dropouts

  46. Hence: • Benefits: • Inverted U-shape • Note that the impact is not differentiated by race • Supply of male: • Strong reduction of male supply… • … concentrated on young, black, HS dropouts Impact on marriage and fertility?

  47. Source: Neal JHR 2004

  48. Source: Neal JHR 2004

  49. Source: Neal JHR 2004

  50. Source: Neal JHR 2004