New research shows that access to birth control pills over the past 50 years has translated into higher pay and better careers for women.

After scrutinizing data from a multidecade survey, University of Michigan researchers determined that women who had access to birth control pills when they were in their late teens and early 20s tended to be better educated and better paid 20 years later compared to women who couldn't get oral contraceptives. Women who had early access to the pill were making 8 percent more than those who didn't.

"Arguably the pill had some pretty big benefits for these women," said the study's lead author Martha J. Bailey, an assistant professor of economics at the university. "I certainly would like an 8 percent pay raise."

The new study, published as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, used data from two long-term surveys: one that looked at health and another that looked at labor force outcomes. Both tracked women for decades.

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