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Social EconomicsCurrent and Emerging Avenues$
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Joan Costa-Font and Mario Macis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035651

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035651.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Cultural Persistence and the Pill

Cultural Persistence and the Pill

(p.173) 8 Cultural Persistence and the Pill
Social Economics

Kelly Ragan

The MIT Press

This paper reviews the literature in economics and related fields on the role of social norms in shaping fertility patterns and demand for contraception. The case of Sweden is discussed in detail both with regard to the literature and the data. Measures of non-marital childbearing from the 19th and early 20th Century are presented and compared in relation to demand for oral contraceptives (‘the Pill’) over a half century later. The correlation of Pill take-up with historical illegitimacy is strongly positive, regardless of the measure used. The geographical variation of illegitimacy and contraceptive demand follow a strikingly similar pattern that is independent of urbanization and North/South development patterns.

Keywords:   Contraception, Fertility patterns, Social norms, Non-marital childbearing, The pill, Illegitimacy, urbanization

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