• Abortion and Crime: Unwanted Children and Out-of-Wedlock Births

      Lott, John; Whitley, John (2001-05-16)
      Abortion may prevent the birth of "unwanted" children, who would have relatively small investments in human capital and a higher probability of crime. On the other hand, some research suggests that legalizing abortion increases out-of-wedlock births and single parent families, which implies the opposite impact on investments in human capital and thus crime. The question is: what is the net impact? We find evidence that legalizing abortion increased murder rates by around about 0.5 to 7 percent. Previous estimates are shown to suffer from not directly linking the cohorts who are committing crime with whether they had been born before or after abortion was legal.
    • Non-Voted Ballots and Discrimination in Florida

      Lott, John (2001-07-09)
      The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' Majority Report on the 2000 Presidential vote in Florida presents two types of empirical evidence that African-Americans were denied the right to vote. The report concluded that, "The Voting Rights Act prohibits both intentional discrimination and 'results' discrimination. It is within the jurisdictional province of the Justice Department to pursue and a court of competent jurisdiction to decide whether the facts prove or disprove illegal discrimination under either standard." To reach their conclusion that discrimination had occurred, the majority examined the impact of race on spoiled (or non-voted) ballot rates as well as the impact of race on the exclusion from voter eligibility lists because of past felony criminal records. They relied on empirical work regarding non-voted ballots and this empirical work relies solely on cross county regressions or correlations using data from 2000 alone. The evidence that African- Americans are erroneously placed on the ineligible list at higher rates than other racial groups is based upon a simple comparison of means.