Further Tests of Abortion and Crime
The inverse relationship between abortion and crime has spurred new research and much controversy. If the relationship is causal, then polices that increased abortion have generated enormous external benefits from reduced crime. In previous papers, I argued that evidence for a casual relationship is weak and incomplete. In this paper, I conduct a number of new analyses intended to address criticisms of my earlier work. First, I examine closely the effects of changes in abortion rates between 1971 and 1974. Changes in abortion rates during this period were dramatic, varied widely by state, had a demonstrable effect on fertility, and were more plausibly exogenous than changes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. If abortion reduced crime, crime should have fallen sharply as these post-legalization cohorts reached their late teens and early 20s, the peak ages of criminal involvement. It did not. Second, I conduct separate estimates for whites and blacks because the effect of legalized abortion on crime should have been much larger for blacks than whites, since the effect of legalization of abortion on the fertility rates of blacks was much larger. There was little race difference in the reduction in crime. Finally, I compare changes in homicide rates before and after legalization of abortion, within states, by single year of age. The analysis of older adults is compelling because they were largely unaffected by the crack-cocaine epidemic, which was a potentially important confounding factor in earlier estimates. These analyses provide little evidence that legalized abortion reduced crime.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2004|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1997.
"Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the "Marginal Child?","
NBER Working Papers
6034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the "Marginal Child"?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291.
- Ted Joyce, 2001. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," NBER Working Papers 8319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2002.
"Abortion Legalization and Adolescent Substance Use,"
NBER Working Papers
9193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Charles, Kerwin Kofi & Stephens, Melvin, Jr, 2006. "Abortion Legalization and Adolescent Substance Use," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 481-505, October.
- 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).
- John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Further Evidence that Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime: A Reply to Joyce," NBER Working Papers 9532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
- John Donohue & Steven Levitt, 2000.
"The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime,"
NBER Working Papers
8004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Donohue, John J. & Levitt, Steven D., 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt00p599hk, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
- Bruce D. Meyer, 1994.
"Natural and Quasi- Experiments in Economics,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Theodore Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman, 2000. "The effect of pregnancy intention on child development," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(1), pages 83-94, February.
- Ted Joyce, 2004. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
- Theodore J. Joyce & Naci H. Mocan, 1989. "The Impact of a Ban on Legalized Abortion on Adolescent Childbearing in New York City," NBER Working Papers 3002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jonathan Klick & Sven Neelsen & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "The Effect of Abortion Liberalization on Sexual Behavior: International Evidence," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper Nr. 79, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10564. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.