Freakonomics & Wade vs Roe

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by smallbrownprivates, Apr 29, 2006.

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  1. A peripheral thread has been done on this in relation to comments made by William Bennett last year, but it didn't look in depth at the reason for those comments.

    So given recent threads on crime and gun control, here goes: "does the premise put forward by the authors of freakonomics that Wade vs Roe (i.e legalised Abortion) did more to reduce crime than planned measures (such as increased police numbers, zero tolerance, concealed carry permits etc etc) have any merit?"

    Now I do understand that I'm bring 2 rather controversial issues together, so in an effort to avoid critical mass and long discussions about rights, pro choice, pro life etc, please focus on the question above.

    I find the idea is interesting that a demographic trough in populations close to poverty could have had more effect on lowering crime (i.e reducing the criminal population at a national level, as from 1973 unwanted babies went in the bucket early, rather than the care system later) than local initiatives. It also is rather depressing and rather gaian/chaos theory to think that it was an unplanned side effect than an intended policy!

    so what do y'all think then?
  2. I vaguely remembered there being some scandal about the authors twisting the data to support the link between abortion and reduced crime rates. Goggled and found this...
    The summary is that yes some people tried to debunk the original paper but ultimately the debunkers were shown to be incorrect and the paper stands. However the original authors have always said the link shouldn't be seen as a pro-abortion argument since you could also reduce crime rates by providing birth control or identifying at risk children.

    The original paper is here:

  3. I don't think it was a demographic trough in populations close to poverty that lowered the crime rate. Isn't it that children who perhaps wouldn't have been cared for as well as they ought to have been were simply not born?

    Isn't statistics just fab?

  4. It strikes me as an example of retrospective political, legal, and moral back-peddaling. Why not simply call it eugenics?
  5. Because eugenics is planned perhaps?

    The point they are bringing out is how figures don't fit facts as we think they should. Giuliani is given as an example. zero tolerance in new york and the increased numbers of police that resulted in lower crime are often anecdotally attributed to him, but it was his predecesor that instigated the higher numbers and zero tolerance started 4 years after the crime rate had already dropped 20%.

    What the authors put forward is that in states where legalised abortion was started ahead of others, the crime rates in those states dropped at the same time period ahead of the states that then followed suit.

    Interestingly enough, there is some comment on the brady law, gun buybacks and concealed carry policies, mostly as to their near nil effect on crime compared to this approx 40% nation wide drop in crime attributed to wade vs roe.

    The discussion about the realtive value of a foetus vs a homicide victim is not one for strong pro life/choice feelings.