Monday, June 04, 2007

DOES LEGALIZED ABORTION REDUCE CRIME?

This has long been a debate between John Lott and Steven Levitt. Following is a short extract from John Lott's new book "Freedomnomics". I have been following the argument since Levitt first put it forward. I think Lott has some good points but I find it hard to get past the point that anything which limits the black population (which free abortion certainly does) must also limit crime -- given the undisputedly very high rate of criminality among blacks. Lott seems to be arguing that blacks brought up in two-parent families would be less prone to crime. But that is probably true only to a small degree. As far as I know ALL black populations everywhere in the world have hugely high crime-rates by white standards

So the opposing arguments are clear-one stresses that abortion eliminates "unwanted" children, while the other emphasizes that abortion increases out-of-wedlock births. Both effects, conceivably, could be occurring at the same time. The question is: which one has the bigger impact on crime?

This must be answered empirically. Unfortunately for advocates of the "abortion decreases crime" theory, Donahue and Levitt's data were undermined by methodological flaws. As The Economist magazine noted in an article entitled "Oops-onomics," "Donohue and Levitt did not run the test that they thought they had." Work by two economists at the Boston Federal Reserve, Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz, found that when the tests were run correctly, they indicated that abortion actually increases violent crime. I co-authored a study with John Whitley that found a similar connection between abortion and murder-namely, that legalizing abortion raised the murder rate, on average, by about 7 percent.

We find particularly troublesome problems with the "abortion decreases crime" theory when we analyze the population according to age group. Suppose that liberalizing abortion in the early 1970s can indeed explain up to 80 percent of the drop in murder during the 1990s, as Donohue and Levitt claim. Then the impact of deregulating abortion, undoubtedly, would first reduce criminality among age groups born after the abortion law was changed, when the "unwanted," crime-prone elements of these groups began to be weeded out through abortion. Yet, looking at the declining murder rate during the 1990s, Whitley and I found that this is not the case at all. Instead, the rate of committing murder began falling first among an older generation-those twenty-six and older-who were born before the Roe v. Wade decision.39 It was only later that criminality among those born after Roe began to decline as well.

This pattern is more consistent with the theory that legalizing abortion led to a rise in crime. In fact, those born in the four years after Roe were much more likely to commit murder than those born in the four years prior to Roe. This was especially the case when they were in their teens-in other words, in their "criminal prime."

And that's not all. The "abortion decreases crime" argument encounters further inconsistencies when we compare U.S. crime and abortion trends to those in Canada. While crime rates in both the United States and Canada began declining at the same time, Canada liberalized its abortion laws much later than the U.S. did. Although the province of Quebec effectively legalized abortion in late 1976, it wasn't until 1988, in a case originating in Ontario, that the Canadian Supreme Court struck down limits on abortion nationwide. If the legalization of abortion in the U.S. caused crime to begin dropping eighteen years later, why did the crime rate begin falling just three years after the comparable legal change in Canada?

In sum, even if one effect of abortion were to lower crime by culling out "unwanted" children-a conclusion derived from flawed statistics- the effect is greatly outweighed by the rise in crime that abortion causes by increasing out-of-wedlock births. It should be noted that African Americans are disproportionately harmed by the crime stemming from legalized abortion. That population has seen the biggest increases in abortion, premarital sex, and out-of-wedlock birth rates, resulting in more African Americans being raised by single parents and eventually committing crimes, mostly against other African Americans.

Thus, "legalized" abortion actually served to increase crime since the 1970s. However this effect--both among African Americans and the population at large-was more than offset by other factors that caused the massive drop in crime of the 1990s

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ELSEWHERE

There is an excellent bit of sarcasm here about the recent call by British professors to boycott Israel.

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up.

Smart Germans fleeing high taxes and unemployment: "For a nation that invented the term "guest worker" for its immigrant labourers, Germany is facing the sobering fact that record numbers of its own often highly-qualified citizens are fleeing the country to work abroad in the biggest mass exodus for 60 years. Figures released by Germany's Federal Statistics Office showed that the number of Germans emigrating rose to 155,290 last year - the highest number since the country's reunification in 1990 - which equalled levels last experienced in the 1940s during the chaotic aftermath of the Second World War. ... Stephanie Wahl, of the Institute for Economics, based in Bonn, said that those who are leaving Germany are mostly highly motivated and well educated. "Those coming in are mostly poor, untrained and hardly educated," she added. Fed up with comparatively poor job prospects at home - where unemployment is as high as 17 per cent in some regions - as well as high taxes and bureaucracy, thousands of Germans have upped sticks for Austria and Switzerland, or emigrated to the United States."

Swedes fleeing high taxes: "Many individuals with good jobs understand that they can significantly increase their standard of living if they move to the US or the UK. Indeed thousands of Swedes with good educations already take advantage of this realization, often settling in London. .competition from the Baltic nations might very well be a more important factor for Swedish enterprise. These countries are in many ways similar to Sweden and the geographical distance is slim. Wages are still much lower than in Sweden and the traditional working ethics that to a large degree has eroded in the Swedish welfare system is very much alive on the other side of the Baltic Sea. Already many Swedish companies are choosing to establish themselves in the Baltic countries, a trend that very well might accelerate with time. .it might very well become a common phenomenon for Swedish high income takers to settle in Tallinn rather than Stockholm.

Norway worse than Sweden: "There are not many countries in which Sweden would be considered a tax haven, but one wealthy Norwegian says she plans to move across the border now that the government has scrapped wealth tax. Caroline Hagen is the daughter of Norwegian financier Stein Erik Hagen, and plans to take advantage of the less severe taxes under the new centre-right government. Her sister Camilla could soon follow. Stein Erik Hagen, whose family-owned holding company Canica has major shareholdings in a number of retail companies and consumer goods firms, said that Sweden's decision to axe wealth tax would encourage many more wealthy Norwegians to cross the broder.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".

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1 comment:

Panhandle Poet said...

Comitting the abortion in the first place is a crime -- although legal in some places. Once the lines get "fuzzy", it all becomes convoluted.