Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 19, 2007

Does Increased Abortion Lead to Lower Crime? Evaluating the Relationship between Crime, Abortion, and Fertility

Anindya Sen

Abstract

Donohue and Levitt (2001) attribute over half of the decline in U.S. crime rates during the 1990s to abortion legalization. This paper conducts similar research by exploiting cross-province time-series variation in Canadian data. The use of Canadian data allows me to separate the effects of teenage abortions from general abortion rates. This distinction is important, as more than a quarter of the drop in violent crime can be attributed to the increase in teenage abortions that occurred after legalization. These results suggest that lower crime rates from abortion legalization are due to better timing of births rather than lower cohort size. They are further substantiated by OLS estimates, which imply that the drop in teenage fertility rates during the 1960s and 1970s is responsible for more than half of the decline in violent crime rates witnessed during the 1990s.

Published Online: 2007-9-19

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston