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Does Increased Abortion Lead to Lower Crime? Evaluating the Relationship between Crime, Abortion, and Fertility

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  • Sen Anindya

    () (University of Waterloo)

Abstract

Donohue and Levitt (2001) attribute over half of the decline in U.S. crime rates during the 1990s to abortion legalization. This paper conducts similar research by exploiting cross-province time-series variation in Canadian data. The use of Canadian data allows me to separate the effects of teenage abortions from general abortion rates. This distinction is important, as more than a quarter of the drop in violent crime can be attributed to the increase in teenage abortions that occurred after legalization. These results suggest that lower crime rates from abortion legalization are due to better timing of births rather than lower cohort size. They are further substantiated by OLS estimates, which imply that the drop in teenage fertility rates during the 1960s and 1970s is responsible for more than half of the decline in violent crime rates witnessed during the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Sen Anindya, 2007. "Does Increased Abortion Lead to Lower Crime? Evaluating the Relationship between Crime, Abortion, and Fertility," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:7:y:2007:i:1:n:48
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    Cited by:

    1. Leo H. Kahane & David Paton & Rob Simmons, 2008. "The Abortion-Crime Link: Evidence from England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 1-21, February.
    2. John J. Donohue, III & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Further Evidence that Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime: A Reply to Joyce," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    3. Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2013. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the "Children of the Wall"," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 605, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    4. François, Abel & Magni-Berton, Raul & Weill, Laurent, 2014. "Abortion and crime: Cross-country evidence from Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 24-35.
    5. Alejandro Gaviria & Carlos Medina & Jorge Tamayo, 2010. "Assessing the Link between Adolescent Fertility and Urban Crime," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 006860, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    6. Hunt, Jennifer, 2003. "Teen Births Keep American Crime High," CEPR Discussion Papers 3906, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Theodore J. Joyce, 2009. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," NBER Working Papers 15098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Serkan Ozbeklik, 2014. "The Effect Of Abortion Legalization On Childbearing By Unwed Teenagers In Future Cohorts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 100-115, January.
    9. Chevalier A. & Marie O. & Marie O., 2013. "Economic uncertainty, parental selection, and the criminal activity of the ‘children of the wall’," Research Memorandum 066, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    10. Theodore J. Joyce, 2006. "Further Tests of Abortion and Crime: A Response to Donohue and Levitt (2001,2004, 2006)," NBER Working Papers 12607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Todd D. Kendall & Robert Tamura, 2010. "Unmarried Fertility, Crime, and Social Stigma," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 185-221, February.

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