Abortion and Crime: Unwanted Children and Out-of-Wedlock Births
46 Pages Posted: 16 May 2001
Date Written: April 30, 2001
Abortion may prevent the birth of "unwanted" children, who would have relatively small investments in human capital and a higher probability of crime. On the other hand, some research suggests that legalizing abortion increases out-of-wedlock births and single parent families, which implies the opposite impact on investments in human capital and thus crime. The question is: what is the net impact? We find evidence that legalizing abortion increased murder rates by around about 0.5 to 7 percent. Previous estimates are shown to suffer from not directly linking the cohorts who are committing crime with whether they had been born before or after abortion was legal.
JEL Classification: K4, D13, H11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation