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Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the 'Children of the Wall'

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  • Arnaud Chevalier
  • Olivier Marie

Abstract

We study the link between parental selection and children criminality in a new context. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany experienced an unprecedented temporary drop in fertility driven by economic uncertainty. We exploit this natural experiment to estimate that the children from these (smaller) cohorts are 40 percent more likely to commit crimes. We show that women who gave birth at this period were negatively selected. Investigation of the underlying mechanisms reveals that emotional attachment and risk attitudes play important roles in the fertility-crime relationship. Finally, results for siblings support a causal interpretation of our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnaud Chevalier & Olivier Marie, 2014. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the 'Children of the Wall'," CEP Discussion Papers dp1256, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1256
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Children born just after the Berlin wall fell were lower achievers – here’s why
      by Olivier Marie, Assistant Professor in Economics at Maastricht University in The Conversation on 2014-11-04 12:09:20
    2. Children born just after the Berlin Wall fell were lower achievers – here’s why
      by ? in PsyPost on 2014-11-05 03:32:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Huebener, Mathias & Marcus, Jan, 2017. "Compressing instruction time into fewer years of schooling and the impact on student performance," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-14.
    2. Kamila Cygan-Rehm & Regina T. Riphahn, 2014. "Teenage pregnancies and births in Germany: patterns and developments," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(28), pages 3503-3522, October.
    3. Franz Westermaier, 2016. "The Impact of Lengthening the School Day on Substance Abuse and Crime: Evidence from a German High School Reform," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1616, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Freier, Ronny & Simmler, Martin & Wittrock, Christian, 2021. "Public good provision and local employment – Evidence from grammar school closures in East Germany," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; parental selection; fertility; economic uncertainty; risk attitude;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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