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Weaponomics: The Economics of Small Arms

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  • Phillip Killicoat
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    Abstract

    The small arms market has received considerable attention since the end of the Cold War. Small arms may be viewed as the specific capital of rebel groups yet no statistical analysis of this market for weapons has yet taken place due to the absence of data. This paper introduces the first effort to quantitatively document the small arms market by collating field reports and journalist accounts to produce a cross-country time-series price index of Kalashnikov assault rifles. The new data is used to quantitatively investigate the nature of the small arms market. A simultaneous equations demand and supply model of the small arms market is developed and empirically estimated to identify the key determinants of assault rifle prices. Variables which proxy the effective height of trade barriers for illicit trade, both within and between countries are consistently significant in weapon price determination. Neighbours’ average military expenditure is also a robust predictor of cheap weapon prices. When controlling for other factors, the collapse of the Soviet Union does not have as large an impact on weapon prices as is generally believed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2006-13.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2006-13

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    1. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
    2. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
    3. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
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