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Speaker: Rachel Fung, Princeton University

Rachel Fung is a PHD student in Economics at Princeton University.

Title: “The Power of Tubal Sterilization: Permanent Contraception, Fertility, and Female Labor Supply”

Abstract: Tubal sterilization procedures increased sevenfold in the U.S. between 1970-1980, quickly becoming the most popular form of contraception among married women. This method of permanent contraception affords women almost perfect control over the end of their fertility. I show that the increase in tubal sterilizations reduced third and later births and was an important driver in reducing women’s age at last birth. As women complete childbearing at an earlier age, they spend fewer years of their lives caring for young children, which allows them to join or return to the labor force at an earlier age. I show that women more likely to have had a tubal sterilization were more likely to be in the labor force. I also find suggestive evidence that these women select more into occupations that reward experience and tenure, consistent with the reliability of tubal sterilization reducing the risk of pregnancies and career interruptions.