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

  • Arnaud Chevalier
  • Olivier Marie

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.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.432424.de/diw_sp0605.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 605.

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Length: 44 p.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp605
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  2. Alberto Alesina & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, 2007. "Goodbye Lenin (or Not?): The Effect of Communism on People," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1507-1528, September.
  3. John Donohue & Steven Levitt, 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," NBER Working Papers 8004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Logue, Caitriona & Moon, Seong Hyeok, 2013. "Measuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 7550, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Gabriella Conti & Christopher Hansman & James J. Heckman & Matthew F. X. Novak & Angela Ruggiero & Stephen J. Suomi, 2012. "Primate Evidence on the Late Health Effects of Early Life Adversity," Working Papers 2012-008, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  7. 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.
  8. Michael Weinhardt & Jürgen Schupp, 2011. "Multi-Itemskalen im SOEP Jugendfragebogen," Data Documentation 60, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
  10. 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).
  11. Sandner, Malte, 2013. "Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Child Development and Early Skill Formation. Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-518, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  12. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization And Child Living Circumstances: Who Is The ''Marginal Child''?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291, February.
  13. Christian Schmitt, 2012. "Geburten in Ost- und Westdeutschland: erleichtert eine hohe Risikobereitschaft die Entscheidung für ein Kind?," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 79(11), pages 18-23.
  14. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2002. "Abortion Legalization and Adolescent Substance Use," NBER Working Papers 9193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Leonardo Bursztyn & Davide Cantoni, 2014. "A Tear in the Iron Curtain: The Impact of Western Television on Consumption Behavior," NBER Working Papers 20403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gary Solon & Steven J. Haider & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2013. "What Are We Weighting For?," NBER Working Papers 18859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Bursztyn, Leonardo & Cantoni, Davide, 2012. "A Tear in the Iron Curtain: The Impact of Western Television on Consumption Behavior," Discussion Papers in Economics 13949, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  18. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger, 2006. "Abortion and Selection," NBER Working Papers 12150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. Christopher L. Foote & Christopher F. Goetz, 2008. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime: Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 407-423, 02.
  21. Ted Joyce, 2004. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  22. Sumon Kumar Bhaumik & Jeffrey Nugent, 2011. "Real options and demographic decisions: empirical evidence from East and West Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(21), pages 2739-2749.
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