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The abortion-crime link: evidence from England and Wales

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  • L H Kahane
  • D Paton
  • R Simmons

Abstract

We use panel data from 1983 to 1997 for the 42 police force areas in England and Wales to test the hypothesis that legalizing abortion contributes to lower crime rates. We provide an advance on previous work by focusing on the impact of possible endogeneity of effective abortion rates with respect to crime. Our use of U.K. data allows us to exploit regional differences in the provision of free abortions to identify abortion rates. When we use a similar model and estimation methodology, we are able to replicate the negative association between abortion rates and reported crime found by Donohue and Levitt for the U.S. However, when we allow for the potential endogeneity of effective abortion rates with respect to crime, we find no clear connection between the two.

Suggested Citation

  • L H Kahane & D Paton & R Simmons, 2005. "The abortion-crime link: evidence from England and Wales," Working Papers 574044, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:574044
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    Cited by:

    1. Hjalmarsson, Randi & Mitrut, Andreea & Pop-Eleches, Cristian, 2021. "The impact of abortion on crime and crime-related behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    2. Clarke, Damian, 2023. "The Economics of Abortion Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 16395, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. John J Donohue & Steven Levitt, 2020. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime over the Last Two Decades," American Law and Economics Review, American Law and Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 241-302.
    4. W. Robert Reed, 2017. "Replication in labor economics," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 413-413, December.
    5. François, Abel & Magni-Berton, Raul & Weill, Laurent, 2014. "Abortion and crime: Cross-country evidence from Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 24-35.
    6. Todd D. Kendall & Robert Tamura, 2010. "Unmarried Fertility, Crime, and Social Stigma," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 185-221, February.
    7. Ted Joyce, 2010. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," Chapters, in: Bruce L. Benson & Paul R. Zimmerman (ed.), Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 18, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Angela K. Dills & Jeffrey A. Miron & Garrett Summers, 2010. "What Do Economists Know about Crime?," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons For and From Latin America, pages 269-302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Theodore J. Joyce, 2009. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," NBER Working Papers 15098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    abortion; crime; fertility;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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