IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/uwp/jhriss/v39y2004i1p29-49.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Further Evidence that Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime: A Reply to Joyce

Author

Listed:
  • John J. Donohue, III
  • Steven D. Levitt

Abstract

Donohue and Levitt (2001) suggest there is a causal link between legalized abortion and reductions in crime almost two decades later when the cohorts exposed to legalized abortion reach their peak crime years. Joyce (2003) examines crime committed in the period 1985– 90 for the cohorts born immediately before and after abortion legalization. He finds little impact of legalized abortion. In this paper, we demonstrate that Joyce’s failure to uncover a negative relationship between abortion and crime is a consequence of his decision to focus almost exclusively on one nonrepresentative six-year period during the peak of the crack epidemic. We provide empirical evidence that the crack-cocaine epidemic hit the high-abortion early-legalizing states earlier and more severely than other states. When we simply replicate his analyses, but extend the sample to cover the entire lives of these exact same cohorts, abortion is just as negatively related to crime as in our original analysis. Joyce’s results appear to be purely an artifact of omitted variable bias due to focusing on the peak crack years without including adequate controls for crack.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:39:y:2004:i:1:p29-49
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/XXXIX/1/29
    Download Restriction: A subscripton is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John J. Donohue & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Legalized Abortion and Crime," JCPR Working Papers 104, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    2. 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.
    3. Theodore J. Joyce, 1985. "The Impact of Induced Abortion on Birth Outcomes in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the "Marginal Child"?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291.
    5. Ted Joyce, 2004. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    6. Anindya Sen, 2002. "Does Increased Abortion Lead to Reduced Crime? Evaluating the Relationship between Crime, Abortion, and Fertility," Working Papers 02004, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2002.
    7. Charles, Kerwin Kofi & Stephens, Melvin, Jr, 2006. "Abortion Legalization and Adolescent Substance Use," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 481-505, October.
    8. Theodore Joyce, 1987. "The impact of induced abortion on black and white birth outcomes in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(2), pages 229-244, May.
    9. Philip J. Cook & John H. Laub, 2001. "After the Epidemic: Recent Trends in Youth Violence in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2006. "The Impact of an Abortion Ban on Socioeconomic Outcomes of Children: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 744-773, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:39:y:2004:i:1:p29-49. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://jhr.uwpress.org/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.