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Abortion and Crime: Cross-Country Evidence from Europe

Abel François, Raul Magni-Berton and Laurent Weill ()

Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center from Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg

Abstract: The publication of Donohue and Levitt (2001)’s paper on the impact of legalized abortion on the decline of crime in the US has created a wide debate in the literature. However, the vast majority of papers have been implemented in the US setting, and the few other works were single-country studies. In this research, we aim to provide new evidence on the abortion-crime link by examining this issue using a sample of 16 Western European countries. The cross-country investigation allows the exploitation of the different dates of abortion legalization in Europe. We perform regressions of crime rates on the share of aborted adults, defined as the accumulation of aborted children in the past that would have become adults. We find that abortion rate has a significant and negative impact on crime rates, specifically, homicide and theft. We also observe support for the impact of legalization of abortion on the reduction of crime when considering different calculations of the accumulation of abortions based on different criteria for the legalization of abortion. Thus, our results are consistent with the findings of Donohue and Levitt (2001) for the US.

Keywords: Abortion; Crime; Theft; Homicide (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Journal Article: Abortion and crime: Cross-country evidence from Europe (2014) Downloads
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