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'The Pill' Paved Way For Women's Entry Into The Upper Echelons Of America's Labor Force, Authors Argue In Latest Issue Of The Milken Institute Review

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'The Pill' Paved Way For Women's Entry Into The Upper Echelons Of America's Labor Force, Authors Argue In Latest Issue Of The Milken Institute Review

LOS ANGELES — It has been called the greatest science and technology advance of the 20th century. It has been credited with the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, and the social and sexual revolution of the 1970s.

But The Pill — the female oral contraceptive — had an equally dramatic impact on the working lives of millions of American women, according to two economists writing in the latest issue of The Milken Institute Review. It paved the way for the entry of women into the upper echelons of the labor force.

"Did The Pill play a role in this decision by millions of women to invest in professional training and pursue careers?" ask authors Claudia Golden and Lawrence Katz of Harvard University. "We think the answer is a resounding 'yes.′ "

According to Golden and Katz: "Beginning in the late 1960s, safe, reliable, easy-to-use, female-controlled contraception enhanced the ability and willingness of young women to enter careers that involved extensive, upfront time commitments to education."

Also in this issue of the Milken Institute′s quarterly economic journal, former Fortune economics editor Rob Norton looks at how Republicans and Democrats have reversed roles on fiscal policy over the last two decades.

"The most startling feature of the economic policy debate during the presidential election of 2000 and of the current debate over the United States budget," writes Norton, "is the Democratic Party′s unwavering support for sustaining the federal budget surplus."

Also in the new Review, economists focus on some unlikely targets: burglar alarms and Super Bowl tickets.

* Erwin Blackstone and Simon Hakim of Temple University, and Uriel Spiegel of Bar Ilan University in Israel offer a case study on how to create incentives for the efficient production of services. Their focus: False alarms, and the enormous cost to taxpayers.

* Princeton University economist Alan Krueger found himself asking why the National Football League sells Super Bowl game tickets for a fraction of their free-market value. After attending this year′s game, he came up with a lot of ideas. But more important, in his article, "Supply and Demand," he offers some thoughts on how the NFL could make more money, treat their fans fairly and also make the system for allotting tickets more efficient.

The 2nd Quarter Review also includes:

* Lawrence White, an economist at New York University′s Stern School of Business, says it′s time to face reality and recognize the electromagnetic spectrum — the "airwaves" that are used for over-the-air communications such as radio, TV and cell phones — for what it is: private property.

* Jeffrey Miron of Boston University makes a case against publicly run universities, arguing that "even if one believes that public money should buy a college education for every high school graduate willing to put in the time, it makes more sense to subsidize students at privately owned institutions."

* Bill Frey, a Senior Fellow at the Milken Institute, writes about the regional population shifts that have given rise to what he calls "the New Sunbelt" — states such as Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Georgia — whose cultural and economic views reflect the growing complexity of American demographics.

* Michael Milken moderates a discussion with Nobel-Prize winning economists Gary Becker, James Heckman, Lawrence Klein and Douglass North in excerpts taken from the Institute′s 2001 Global Conference in Los Angeles.

This issue′s book excerpt is from Money Makes the World Go Round by Barbara Garson, who looks at globalism from the perspective of an ordinary American investor. And, of course, we have our regular features: The Charticle and Mark Alan Stamaty′s cartoon, Ekinomix.

The Milken Institute Review is distributed to some 10,000 corporate and financial executives, policy makers, academics and journalists throughout the world. Its editor is Peter Passell, former economics columnist for the New York Times.