Discussion paper

DP17427 Religious Barriers to Birth Control Access

We investigate how the benefits from oral contraceptive liberalization may not have been universally distributed across women because of demand- and supply-side religious frictions. First, we show how minors from more religiously conservative areas in the Netherlands were less likely to benefit from gaining legal pill access in 1970. We then document how the large effects we find on delayed fertility/marriage decisions and on human capital accumulation were eliminated by supply-side moral barriers to access. Women in liberal areas with more gatekeepers—general practitioners and pharmacists—who were opposed the Pill on religious grounds did not benefit from its legalization.


Marie, O and E Zwiers (2022), ‘DP17427 Religious Barriers to Birth Control Access‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17427. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17427