The introduction of the contraceptive pill in the US during the 1960s did not only improve women’s control over fertility but also accelerated the gender convergence for a number of labor market outcomes. A large literature in economics has documented increased investment in education, higher labor market participation, and higher wages for those women who had access to the pill. An emerging medical literature, however, documents a link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. The paper presented in this ZEW Research Seminar investigates the link between access to the contraceptive pill and mental health later in life. Exploiting exogenous time and regional variation in access to the pill for young women, the author documents substantial mental health costs of the contraceptive pill, for several mental health outcomes. She then analyses the role of this mental health cost for labor market effects of the pill. The author finds that the fertility control of the pill is actually potentially bigger than established by the literature since mental health costs were previously not considered.
Please contact Simon Reif if you wish to participate in the online seminar.
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