Discussion paper

DP13800 The Impact of Abortion on Crime and Crime-Related Behavior

The 1966 abolition and 1989 legalization of abortion in Romania immediately doubled and decreased by about a third the number of births per month, respectively. To isolate the link between abortion access and crime while abstracting from cohort and general equilibrium effects, we compare birth month cohorts on either side of the abortion regime. For both the abolition and legalization of abortion, we find large and significant effects on the level of crime and risky-behavior related hospitalization, but an insignificant effect on crime and hospitalization rates (i.e. when normalizing by the size of the birth month cohort). In other words, the Romanian abortion reforms did affect crime, but all of the effect appears to be driven by cohort size effects rather than selection or unwantedness effects.


Hjalmarsson, R, A Mitrut and C Pop-Eleches (2019), ‘DP13800 The Impact of Abortion on Crime and Crime-Related Behavior‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13800. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13800