Ever since Freakonomics was published, and sold, which it sold very well to be honest, there has been many debates about one theory that Steven D. Levitt used to explain why the crime rate dropped in the 1990’s. That theory is that the Supreme Court case of Roe V Wade, which legalized abortion in all fifty states. Steven Levitt stated in Freakonomics that the legalization of abortion had the biggest percentage of why the crime rate went down. Yet, I would like to question this theory myself.
One big controversy that I have with this theory is that Mr. Levitt did not put in to factor the crack issues that were occurring during the time. The 1990’s was the biggest boom for the crack ...view middle of the document...
Many would ask, “How or why is this possibly an error?”. Allow me to give a brief reason why. Let’s say one is combining the most dangerous state to live in, homicides wise, and the safest state. What would occur when one combines these two states? Most likely the crime rate for the state with the highest homicides will decrease, but what about the safest state? It would increase, thus creating two states that look somewhat safe, but in reality one is dangerous and the other one is the safest place to ever be in.
Now that I had the chance to let out my frustration of this error, or at least the tip of the iceberg of it, let us continue. To correct this error the obvious answer would be to use a per capita formula, which creates various different age groups, rather than a complete whole for all arrests. Instead of doing a nationwide accumulation Levitt should have done a research that would have been conducted per state. This is very beneficial because one is not mixing states that had a low homicide rate with states that did have a high homicide rate, thus a clearer image of the emphasize that abortion had on crime rate in the 1990’s could have been made (http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/wp/wp2005/wp0515.pdf).
So why did the genius Steven Levitt not think of this possible solution? His and John Donohue answer was “because of the absence of reliable measures of state population by single year of age”, but if one were to truly looked into it one can easily find these “absence” reliable measures; especially since the Census Bureau has been constructing them for every year since 1980 (http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/wp/wp2005/wp0515.pdf).
If one was to be a diehard, word by word, Freakonomics freak I would be dodging flying projectiles right about now. Yet, before these projectiles are thrown, or even possibly fired, there is proof that even Steven D. Levitt agrees that he did do a mathematical error while conducting the theory.
Steven D. Levitt wrote...