Liberalizing the Morning After Pill - Effects on Young Women


I analyze the causal effects of liberalizing access to emergency hormonal contraception (EHC), also known as the morning after pill, on young adults’ reproductive behavior in England. The liberalization, which changed the prescription status from “on doctor’s prescription only” to “available without prescription in pharmacies”, created easier and more timely access to EHC for all women aged 16 years or older. In a theoretical model of individual behavior I find that EHC, which can be seen as insurance against pregnancies, acts both as a substitute for regular contraception, as well as a substitute for abortions. This creates the need for analyzing the issue empirically since overall effects on outcomes such as births and abortions are unclear. Using a difference-in-differences approach, I find that easier access to EHC increases births only among 20-24 year olds. I find no effects on abortions or sexually transmitted infections.

Johanna Luise Reuter
Johanna Luise Reuter
Assistant Professor (non tenure-track) in Economics

Hello! I’m a AP (non tenure-track) in Economics at the Johannes Kepler Universität in Linz, Austria. I am an applied economist and work on gender, family, health and education economics. I obtained my PhD at the European University Institute under the supervision of Michèle Belot and Andrea Ichino.