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Economic uncertainty, parental selection, and the criminal activity of the ‘children of the wall’

  • Chevalier A.
  • Marie O.
  • Marie O.

    (GSBE)

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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File URL: http://pub.maastrichtuniversity.nl/14c81142-ae8b-48bf-b5b5-dfb98a4010c3
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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE) in its series Research Memorandum with number 066.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umagsb:2013066
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  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.
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  7. Orla Doyle & Colm Harmon & James J. Heckman & Caitroina Logue & Seong Hyeok Moon, 2013. "Measuring Investment in Human Capital Formation: An Experimental Analysis of Early Life Outcomes," Working Papers 2013-007, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  8. Randi Hjalmarsson & Matthew J. Lindquist, 2012. "Like Godfather, Like Son: Exploring the Intergenerational Nature of Crime," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 550-582.
  9. Christopher L. Foote & Christopher F. Goetz, 2008. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime: Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 407-423, 02.
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  11. Burchardi, Konrad B. & Hassan, Tarek, 2011. "The Economic Impact of Social Ties: Evidence from German Reunification," CEPR Discussion Papers 8470, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Gary Solon & Steven J. Haider & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2015. "What Are We Weighting For?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 301-316.
  14. 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.
  15. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization And Child Living Circumstances: Who Is The ''Marginal Child''?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291, February.
  16. Ted Joyce, 2004. "Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  17. 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.
  18. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Staunching Emigration from East Germany: Age and the Determinants of Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 1014-1037, 09.
  19. Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2006. "The Impact of an Abortion Ban on Socioeconomic Outcomes of Children: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 744-773, August.
  20. 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.
  21. 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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