Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime?
Journal of Human Resources, 2004, vol. 39, issue 1
In this paper I compare changes in homicide and arrest rates among cohorts born before and after the legalization of abortion to changes in crime in the same years among similar cohorts who were unexposed to legalized abortion. I find little consistent evidence that the legalization of abortion in selected states around 1970, and then in the remaining states following Roe v. Wade, had an effect on recent crime rates. I conclude that the dramatic association as reported in a recent study is most likely the result of unmeasured period effects such as changes in crack cocaine use.
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