Eastern Economic Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 352–361 | Cite as

Abortion, Contraception, and Non-Marital Births: Re-Interpreting the Akerlof-Yellen-Katz Model of Pre-Marital Sex and Shotgun Marriage

  • Saul D Hoffman
Original Article


In a well-known paper, Akerlof, Yellen, and Katz proposed a counter-intuitive explanation for the rise of non-marital births in the United States that emphasized how birth control and abortion weakened the responsibility of men to their unmarried partner’s pregnancy. The paper is regularly cited by social conservatives to support measures to restrict sex education and access to contraception and abortion. I argue that this use of the paper’s findings stems from specific modeling assumptions about “types” of women. I present a reformulation of the model using more reasonable “types” that generates precisely the same results, but with radically different policy implications.


non-marital birth contraception abortion 


J12 J13 J16 


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Copyright information

© EEA 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saul D Hoffman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics, University of DelawareNewarkUSA

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