Levitt on Abortion/Crime: A FREAK-TV Collage of Evidence

Video

In the video player on the left, you’ll find Part 2 of Levitt’s discussion of the research behind the abortion/crime link. (You can find Part 1 in the video player as well; here’s the blog post that accompanied it.) In this installment, he discusses the collage of evidence that convinced him and John Donohue of the link between legalized abortion and a lower crime rate.

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  1. Alex says:

    Also – Mr Dubner, have you seen Mr Nevin’s research and do you have any comment on it?

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  2. Alex says:

    Also – Mr Dubner, have you seen Mr Nevin’s research and do you have any comment on it?

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  3. TDK says:

    Actually Britain legalised abortion in the 1960s, 1967+/-2 I would guess. That would lead to a drop in 1995. In actual fact the crime rate was rising throughout the 1980s and peaked around the time Michael Howard was made home secretary. After that the rise ceased and crime levelled off or perhaps dipped a little. There has certainly not been the dramatic reduction seen in the US. Some crime, particularly violent crime has continued to rise, whilst others have fallen. Michael Howard was the Home secretary who famously declared that “prison works”. His policies were not reversed by Labour with the consequence that prison populations continued to rise.

    Now it may be that Michael Howard’s reforms just happened to coincide with the magic 1995 threshold, but then we would be forced to conclude that not enough abortions were carried out to achieve the dramatic falls seen in the US! I’m inclined to wonder what caused the rise up to 1995 in the UK and up to 1990 in the US. It’s not as if abortion became progressively more difficult to obtain; probably the reverse if evidence submitted by David Steele in the 1960s is any guide.

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  4. TDK says:

    Actually Britain legalised abortion in the 1960s, 1967+/-2 I would guess. That would lead to a drop in 1995. In actual fact the crime rate was rising throughout the 1980s and peaked around the time Michael Howard was made home secretary. After that the rise ceased and crime levelled off or perhaps dipped a little. There has certainly not been the dramatic reduction seen in the US. Some crime, particularly violent crime has continued to rise, whilst others have fallen. Michael Howard was the Home secretary who famously declared that “prison works”. His policies were not reversed by Labour with the consequence that prison populations continued to rise.

    Now it may be that Michael Howard’s reforms just happened to coincide with the magic 1995 threshold, but then we would be forced to conclude that not enough abortions were carried out to achieve the dramatic falls seen in the US! I’m inclined to wonder what caused the rise up to 1995 in the UK and up to 1990 in the US. It’s not as if abortion became progressively more difficult to obtain; probably the reverse if evidence submitted by David Steele in the 1960s is any guide.

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  5. Rita: Lovely Meter Maid says:

    Connections like this (Abortion + crime rate) make me think of that iconic story of the butterfly flapping it’s wings in Japan. (Or somewhere). And then, somewhere else a hurricane happens that was started by the butterfly all those many miles away. (Or something like that). Anyway, it’s all connected, everything, that is, in this world, or so it’s said. So, I can’t say I’m really surprised at the link Levitt uncovers, although it Is a very startling one to come up with.

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  6. Rita: Lovely Meter Maid says:

    Connections like this (Abortion + crime rate) make me think of that iconic story of the butterfly flapping it’s wings in Japan. (Or somewhere). And then, somewhere else a hurricane happens that was started by the butterfly all those many miles away. (Or something like that). Anyway, it’s all connected, everything, that is, in this world, or so it’s said. So, I can’t say I’m really surprised at the link Levitt uncovers, although it Is a very startling one to come up with.

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  7. luca says:

    i like the concept “collage of evidence”

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  8. luca says:

    i like the concept “collage of evidence”

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