IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/10564.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Further Tests of Abortion and Crime

Author

Listed:
  • Ted Joyce

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ted Joyce, 2004. "Further Tests of Abortion and Crime," NBER Working Papers 10564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10564
    Note: CH HE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10564.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Ted Joyce, 2004. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt, 2001. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 379-420.
    6. Ted Joyce, 2001. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," NBER Working Papers 8319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Meyer, Bruce D, 1995. "Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 151-161, April.
    8. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1990:80:3:273-278_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Jonathan Klick & Sven Neelsen & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "The Effect of Abortion Liberalization on Sexual Behavior: International Evidence," ifo Working Paper Series 79, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    13. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1973:63:6:524-535_9 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Leo H. Kahane & David Paton & Rob Simmons, 2008. "The Abortion-Crime Link: Evidence from England and Wales," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 1-21, February.
    2. Ted Joyce, 2010. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 18 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. James M. Poterba, 2005. "Steven D. Levitt: 2003 John Bates Clark Medalist," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 181-198, Summer.
    4. John M. Nunley & Richard Alan Seals & Joachim Zietz, 2010. "Demographic Change, Macroeconomic Conditions, and the Murder Rate: The Case of the United States, 1934 to 2006," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2010-04, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
    5. Whitaker, Stephan, 2011. "The impact of legalized abortion on high school graduation through selection and composition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 228-246, April.
    6. Ellen, Ingrid Gould & O'Regan, Katherine, 2010. "Crime and urban flight revisited: The effect of the 1990s drop in crime on cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 247-259, November.
    7. Theodore J. Joyce, 2009. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," NBER Working Papers 15098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Jonathan Gruber & Phillip B. Levine & Douglas Staiger, 2009. "Abortion and Selection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 124-136, February.
    9. Theodore J. Joyce, 2006. "Further Tests of Abortion and Crime: A Response to Donohue and Levitt (2001,2004, 2006)," NBER Working Papers 12607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, 2007. "Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime," NBER Working Papers 13097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. 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: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.