The Impact of Subsidized Birth Control for College Women: Evidence from the Deficit Reduction Act
September 8, 2014 11:00 AM
Authors Emily Gray Collins and Brad Hershbein use a unique natural experiment to investigate the sensitivity of American college women's contraceptive choice and sexual behavior to the price of prescription birth control. With the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Congress inadvertently and unexpectedly increased the effective price of birth control pills (“the Pill”) at college health centers more than three-fold, from $5 to $10 a month to between $30 to $50 a month.
In their paper The Impact of Subsidized Birth Control for College Women: Evidence from the Deficit Reduction Act, the authors use different data sets and multiple empirical strategies to find that the policy change reduced the use of the Pill by three to four percent among all college women. The decline was two to three times as large for college women who lacked health insurance or carried large credit card debt. Collins and Hershbein also found decreases in the frequency of intercourse and number of sexual partners, though women who remained sexually active are somewhat more likely to use no contraceptive method.
This paper is part of APPAM's Online Paper Collection from the 2013 Fall Research Conference.
Read the full paper [PDF]