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manuel

The drop in youth crime in Germany could be caused by demography. Birth rates declined after 1990, from about 900,000 births in 1990 to about 750,000 births in 1994. This would lead to a drop in juvenile deliquency in about 2005. (Given that young people didn't become even more criminal.)

Olaf Kröger

Steven Pinker makes a strong argument for skepticism, IMHO. The last striking claim of an overlooked factor with super strong influence on crime numbers was the Freakonomics hypothesis (legalization of abortion => lower crime) which didn't survie scrutiny.

Pinker argues that lead reduction could only influence crime numbers via quite a number of intermediate steps; and somebody should have stumbled over at least some of these. E. g. young people's personality traits should have changed more pronouncedly than the actual crime numbers - and I find it hard to believe that this wouldn't have been caught by child psychologists.

http://stevenpinker.com/files/pinker/files/pinker_comments_on_lead_removal_and_declining_crime.pdf

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