One of the most interesting books I read recently was Freakonomics. The introduction describes how common predictions for the 1990s foretold crime rates spiraling out of control. When these predictions failed to materialize, and, in fact, crime rates dropped drastically nation-wide, politicians cited their own public policies as the reason. The authors contend that it was, in fact, the legalization of abortion twenty years earlier that was the cause of this drop in crime. Leaving ethical debates about abortion out, it certainly makes sense that legalized abortion contributed to the drop in crime (see the student study guide at the previously mentioned website for details). However, the authors themselves assert that correlation is not causation. In economics, the “all other things being equal” clause never happens, so, in effect, many variables impact everything. What other variables may have impacted this drop in the crime rate? What about a healthy economy, increased access to higher education, or outsourcing many 'blue-collar' jobs overseas? The reality is that all these things likely contributed to the drop in crime.