Freakonomics’ Big Revelation

So I just read Levitt and Dubner’s Freakonomics, in which they present the astounding connection between access to abortion and crime: twenty years after Roe v. Wade, the U.S. crime rate dropped.

Astounding indeed. That men are so surprised by that! I mean, just how clueless are you guys? —about the power, the influence, of parenting, about the effect of being forced to be pregnant, to be saddled with a squalling baby you do not want, on an income you do not have, because you’ve got a squalling baby you do not want… What did you guys think would happen in situations like that? The women would get “Mother of the Year” awards for raising psychologically healthy adults?

What I find surprising is that access to abortion isn’t related to infanticide. Pity. Given the Freakonomics boys.



    • Glenn Scheyd on October 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm
    • Reply

    Sorry I’m so late to find this. I’ve just been reading What If, and I discovered your website earlier today. I’ll catch up. Anyway, there a couple of points I wanted to make related to this post:

    1) Martin Daly & Margo Wilson (both in a 1980 article and a 1988 book) present data that do demonstrate a correlation between infanticide and access to abortion — and pretty clearly imply a causal relationship.
    2) I’m always pleasantly surprised when anything in the social sciences is met with a reaction of surprise rather than the usual and usually false “Duh. I could have told you that.”


    • Peg on October 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm
    • Reply

    welcome to the site, Glenn!

    and thanks for the info/reference!

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