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Abortion and Property Crime: What becomes of the Mothers?


  • Alexi Thompson

    () (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)

  • Christopher Jeffords

    () (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)


Using yearly data from 1973-2009, we estimate an error correction model to examine the effects of abortion rates on property crime rates among the U.S. female population aged 15-44. Controlling for income per capita, the female unemployment rate, and the female incarceration rate, the findings suggest that a 1% increase in the abortion rate is associated with a 0.43% increase in the property crime rate, or a 1% decrease in the abortion rate is associated with a 0.43% decrease in the property crime rate. We suspect this result indicates that a woman with fewer or no children is relatively more risk averse than a woman with many children. Given that property crime appears to be an external cost associated with abortion, our results suggest that in years when abortion rates are rising or are higher than average, it is prudent to devote additional resources to combating property crime, especially if the relationship we found persists.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexi Thompson & Christopher Jeffords, 2018. "Abortion and Property Crime: What becomes of the Mothers?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(4), pages 2490-2499.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-18-00672

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-283, April.
    2. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Sarah A. Frederick & James J. Jozefowicz & Zackary T. Nelson, 2016. "A dynamic panel data study of the unemployment-crime relationship: the case of Pennsylvania," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(3), pages 1497-1507.
    5. John J. DiIulio, 1996. "Help Wanted: Economists, Crime and Public Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
    6. Christopher L. Foote & Christopher F. Goetz, 2008. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime: Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 407-423.
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    More about this item


    abortion; property crime; women;

    JEL classification:

    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General
    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics


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