The AEI Event on the Abortion and Crime Debate

Cite this Article
Joshua D. Wright, The AEI Event on the Abortion and Crime Debate, Truth on the Market (April 06, 2006),

The current debate regarding the link between abortion legalization and crime rates has been well publicized. Last week, the AEI held an event at which nearly every scholar to comment on this issue since the initial Donohue & Levitt results were released, stated their case. Here is the AEI’s description:

In 2001, John Donohue of Yale University and Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago published a paper entitled �The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime,� in which they argued that legalized abortion in the 1970s significantly contributed to decreased crime in America during the 1990s. The article sparked a fierce controversy which has yet to abate. The controversy further captured public attention when Levitt featured the argument in his bestselling book, Freakonomics. In this AEI event, nearly every economist who has studied whether there is a link between abortion and crime will weigh in on the available empirical evidence, including Professor Donohue and his leading critics. Is there a link between legalized abortion and crime rates? If so, in which direction is it?

The AEI has released the video of the event (click here, and find the video link on the right hand side of the page). For those unfamiliar with the host of theoretical and econometric issues involved, Jon Klick’s opening statement does a great job of setting up the terms of the debate in a manner that is quite accessible to all those who might be interested. I just finished watching the entire thing. There are some great presentations, and some interesting exchanges on this important issue. There are also some fireworks. If this is an issue you are interested in, go watch the video.