Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reviewing Critical Readers' Responses to My Op-ed at OpinionJournal.com on Abortion

The responses to my op-ed piece at OpinionJournal.com were pretty balanced and can be seen here.

Let me just respond to a few of the critiques:

1) Malarkey
Roger Bleier - Houston
This article makes no argument whatsoever for an interrelationship between the various statistical trends cited. In so many words, it simply implies that there is one. I guess nowadays one can write a whole book similarly premised.

Response: The arguments in the piece are based on one paper that I published in Economic Inquiry (See here for an early version of the paper). The evidence that I find on out-of-wedlock births as a result of abortion is based upon state level statistical study. My book Freedomnomics also provides some additional discussion on this point.

2) The Economics of Subsidies
George Marcom - League City, Texas
Mr. Lott has neglected to address the key factor in the increase of illegitimate births and single-parent families: subsidization. Our vast safety net of social programs enables this problem. If you want more of anything--be it cotton, rice, sugar cane, or ethanol--subsidize it and you will get more.

Sadly, the very social welfare programs we have adopted to ease the misery of the single mother have enabled this explosion if "illegitimacy," and have seriously eroded the nuclear family.

Response: This was the main reason that I wrote: "While not all of this rise can be attributed to liberalized abortion rules, it was nevertheless a key contributing factor." I agree that there are other important factors, such as the one you mention, and I definitely do not think that the evidence supports the claim that abortion is the only factor.

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