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

Author

Listed:
  • Chevalier, Arnaud

    () (Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Marie, Olivier

    () (Maastricht University)

Abstract

We explore the link between parental selection and criminality of children in a new context. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East Germany experienced a very large, but temporary, drop in birth rates mostly driven by economic uncertainty. We exploit this natural experiment in a differences-in-differences setup to first estimate that the children from these affected (smaller) cohorts are relatively much more likely to be criminally active. Using individual level data, we provide evidence that women who gave birth in at this period of uncertainty were negatively selected into fertility. Further investigation of the underlying mechanisms reveals that emotional attachment and intergenerational transmission of risk attitudes play important roles in the parental selection-crime of children relationship. Finally, results for siblings support a causal interpretation of our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Chevalier, Arnaud & Marie, Olivier, 2013. "Economic Uncertainty, Parental Selection, and the Criminal Activity of the 'Children of the Wall'," IZA Discussion Papers 7712, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7712
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    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, ZBW - German National Library of 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; parental selection; fertility decision; economic uncertainty; risk attitude;

    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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