DP14251 Risky moms, risky kids? Fertility and crime after the fall of the wall

Author(s): Arnaud Chevalier, Olivier Marie
Publication Date: December 2019
Keyword(s): crime, economic uncertainty, Fertility, parental selection, risk attitude
JEL(s): J13, K42
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14251

We study the link between parental selection and child criminality. Following the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, the number of births halved in East Germany. These cohorts became markedly more likely to be arrested as they grew up in reunified Germany. This is observed for both genders and all offence types. We highlight risk attitude as an important reason why certain women did not alter their fertility decisions during this time of economic uncertainty. We also show that this preference for risk was then strongly transmitted to their children which may in turn explain their high criminal propensity.