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

  • Chevalier, Arnaud

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Marie, Olivier

    ()

    (Maastricht University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7712.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7712
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  1. 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).
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  7. 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.
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  10. 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.
  11. 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).
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  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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