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  • Adeline Delavande

    1. Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, RAND Corporation, U.S.A.
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      I am indebted to Tim Conley, Chris Taber, Luis Vasconcelos, and especially Chuck Manski for extremely valuable suggestions. I am grateful to Ran Abramitzky, Gadi Barlevy, Raquel Bernal, Iliyan Georgiev, Jacob Klerman, Raphael Lalive, Pedro Mira, Francesca Molinari, Arthur Van Soest, Madeline Zavodny, two anonymous referees, and seminar participants at Cornell University, University of Michigan, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, University of Bristol, RAND, the 2004 PAA Economic Demography Workshop, the ESPE 2005 Annual Conference and the Fundacion Ramon Areces conference “What can we learn from individual expectations of economic variables?” for helpful comments and discussions. Financial support from Northwestern University Graduate Research Grant and a grant from the Searle Fund is gratefully acknowledged. Please address correspondence to: Adeline Delavande, Faculade de Economia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa Campus de Campolide 1099-032 Lisboa, Portugal. Phone: + 351-380-1600. E-mail:

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    Manuscript received May 2006; revised December 2006.


When choosing a contraception method, women base their decisions on their subjective expectations about the realizations of method-related outcomes. Examples of outcomes include getting pregnant and contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). I combine innovative data on probabilistic expectations with observed contraceptive choices to estimate a random utility model of birth control choice. The availability of expectations data is essential to identify preferences from beliefs. Effectiveness, protection against STDs, and partner's disapproval are found to be the most important factors in the decision process. The elicited expectations and inferred preference parameters are used to simulate the impact of various policies.