Abortion and Crime: Unwanted Children and Out-of-Wedlock Births
John R. Lott Jr.
University of Maryland Foundation, University of Maryland
John E Whitley
Institute for Defense Analyses
Economic Inquiry, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 304-324, April 2007
Legalizing abortion can either increase or decrease investments in childrens human capital. This article finds that abortion increases the number of out-of-wedlock births. Using data that more directly links the criminal with age when the crime was committed, not age when arrested, and fixing the assumption in previous research that no abortions took place prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in the 45 states affected by that decision, we find consistent significant evidence that legalizing abortions increased murders by over 7%. Linear estimates indicate that legalization increased total annual victimization costs by at least $3.2 billion.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 9, 2007
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