Sounds about right

While the fertility effects of improving teenagers’ access to contraception are theoretically ambiguous, most empirical work has shown that access decreases teen fertility. In this paper, we consider the fertility effects of access to condoms—a method of contraception not considered in prior work. We exploit variation across counties and across time in teenagers’ exposure to condom distribution programs in schools. We find that access to condoms in schools increases teen fertility by about 10 percent. These effects are driven by communities where condoms are provided without mandated counseling.

For no method of contraception is 100% effective even when used entirely properly. and if the provision of contraceptives leads to a greater increase in sex than the failure rate of that form then pregnancies will go up….

22 thoughts on “Sounds about right”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Likewise providing free condoms has done nothing to stop HIV. The Pope is right about this. The only thing that works is changing behaviour.

    While the fertility effects of improving teenagers’ access to contraception are theoretically ambiguous, most empirical work has shown that access decreases teen fertility.

    Empirical study? Does that mean they went out and slept with a lot of teen Thai prostitutes and checked to make sure none of them got pregnant when they used condoms?

    We find that access to condoms in schools increases teen fertility by about 10 percent.

    Seems high but reasonable.

  2. Oh, aye? And what happened to the incidence of STDs? Swings and roundabouts. Next you’ll be telling me the Earth is 6,000 years old and balanced on the back of a giant turtle, you racist Republican bigot!!

  3. Don’t forget the apocryphal story which ends “I can’t be pregnant, I carefully put the condom on the cucumber *every* time I had sex”.

  4. @SJW, if the condom’s failed then it doesn’t prevent STD’s any more than it prevents pregnancy…

  5. So this would mean that giving teens access to condoms means they have more sex and that this increased rate combined with the failure rate for condoms accounts for a 10% increase in pregnancies. Given the failure rate for condoms isn’t that high this must mean either a lot of extra people having sex that before abstained (something teenagers are known for of course) or we are taking low numbers to start with.

  6. We are probably talking about low numbers but I don’t think that is the real issue.

    These effects are driven by communities where condoms are provided without mandated counseling.

    Condom failures tend to be from user error and we are dealing with the most inexperienced uses.

  7. Failure rate for condoms is reported to be 18% per year when used typically, 2% per year if used correctly.

    Assuming ‘typical’ use is typical, and assuming the teens issued condoms would otherwise all have had unprotected sex, (for which the rate is 85% per year), and that they all use them every time, then the number having sex would need to increase to a little under 5 times what it was.

  8. Condoms aren’t very reliable. They have a high failure rate. I doubt any bloke who has used them hasn’t experienced one or more mechanical failures.

    Hormonal contraceptives are far more reliable and that was why The Sexual Revolution. There is a steady low-level campaign by the Progressives against use of the Pill (probably for that very reason in fact, being cynical, they want problems to address like teen pregnancies, not problems solved which puts them out of a job) but in practical terms oral contraceptives should be used whenever possible, with barrier as a backup to reduce disease transmission in cases of partner HIV uncertainty. Every teenage girl should be offered the option of long term hormonal contraception, which solves the forgot-to-take-it problem.

    Condoms also are uncomfortable and quite the passion killer, so some of the failure will be down to just not wanting to use one.

    Or you can impose ideological abstinence, then sit sadly wondering why your wife never seems to have developed much of an interest in rumpy pumpy and you’re sitting watching porn in the middle of the night while she snoozes in her flannel jim-jams.

  9. This sounds like bullshit of such a high order that I am not prepared to pay $5 to prove myself wrong. If however Tim would choose to email me a copy of this “working paper”, I’ll gladly demolish it (or prove myself wrong).

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Or you can impose ideological abstinence, then sit sadly wondering why your wife never seems to have developed much of an interest in rumpy pumpy and you’re sitting watching porn in the middle of the night while she snoozes in her flannel jim-jams.”

    I am not sure what the link is between not wanting your daughter to be having sex at 13 and your wife wanting to sleep with you but I suspect you are wrong. Conservative women report more and better sex. Presumably because liberal men are such spineless dweebs they do not excite their women much at all.

    Women like men who display dominance. I would have thought that a firm hand with daughters falls well within that category.

  11. “Conservative women report more and better sex.”

    Catholic schoolgirl syndrome?

    “Women like men who display dominance.”

    Women like men with the strength and will to protect them from the *other* sort of man – the ones liable to attack them or their children.

    I would have thought that a firm hand with daughters falls well within the latter category.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    The effects are reasonably large in magnitude: access to condoms for the entire high-school-aged population in a county would lead to about 5 extra births per 1,000 teenage women, or a 10 percent increase relative to the mean. Since the average program covered about one-third of the teenage women in the county, the typical program led to an additional 2 births per 1,000 teenage women.

    Not a small effect.

  13. What do Conservative men report? So far as I can tell they mostly decide to be gay after 20 years with a Conservative wife.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “What do Conservative men report? So far as I can tell they mostly decide to be gay after 20 years with a Conservative wife.”

    Surely that is one of the things they put behind them once they leave University and get married to a nice conservative girl. Ask Michael Portillo.

  15. Besides which, another reminder that most of the Establishment jim-jams and committed relationships brigade are “centre left” progressive Feminists.

  16. It sort of sounds that you say that contraception increases the overall birth rate.
    Hence the decline in certain populations- really ??
    Or what.

  17. “It sort of sounds that you say that contraception increases the overall birth rate. Hence the decline in certain populations- really ??”

    Having teen sex five times more often increases the birth rate; using certain less reliable forms of contraception doesn’t quite manage to cancel it out.

    Married couples have sex anyway, so whether you use contraception or not doesn’t change the rate at which sex occurs so much. Contraception can therefore have a much bigger effect on birth rate.

    Unmarried teen mothers having 10% more kids doesn’t have much of an effect on the overall population growth, because they’re only a small fraction of all the mothers having children.

  18. Actually, it’s quite easy to see how condom use could see an increase in unwanted pregnancies in teenage girls. If you think about how people actually behave. They become habituated to having penetrative sex. Then the odd occasion comes along, when a condom isn’t available but the pressures are strong to go ahead anyway. And whoops.

  19. “Unmarried teen mothers having 10% more kids doesn’t have much of an effect on the overall population growth, because they’re only a small fraction of all the mothers having children.”
    Historically, that wasn’t true. It was the number of pregnancy opportunities taken advantage of that drove population growth.For instance, there’s a direct correlation between marriage age & population growth in 18th & 19th century Britain. Widespread contraception will have blurred that in the 20th & 21st but there’s no reason to think it doesn’t still apply.

  20. @ NiV
    I read recently that nearly 50% of newborns are illegitimate, so a 10% rise in the number of kids of unmarried teen mothers does have an effect on population growth rates (especially as it shortens the generation span).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *