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State Gun Policy and Cross-State Externalities: Evidence from Crime Gun Tracing

  • Brian Knight

This paper provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of crossstate externalities associated with gun regulations that impact gun trafficking. Using tracing data, which identify the source state for crime guns recovered in destination states, we find that firearms tend to flow from states with weak laws to states with strict laws, satisfying a key theoretical condition for the existence of externalities. We also find that gun flows are more significant between nearby states, suggesting that externalities are spatial in nature. Finally, we present evidence that criminal possession of guns is higher in states exposed to weak laws in nearby states.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 200-229

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:200-229
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.4.200
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-policy
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  1. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  2. Lott, John R, Jr & Mustard, David B, 1997. "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-68, January.
  3. Lovenheim, Michael F., 2008. "How Far to the Border?: The Extent and Impact of Cross-Border Casual Cigarette Smuggling," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(1), pages 7-33, March.
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  6. James E. Anderson, 2010. "The Gravity Model," NBER Working Papers 16576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Black, Dan A & Nagin, Daniel S, 1998. "Do Right-to-Carry Laws Deter Violent Crime?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 209-19, January.
  8. Stefano DellaVigna & Eliana La Ferrara, 2010. "Detecting Illegal Arms Trade," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 26-57, November.
  9. Mark Duggan, 2001. "More Guns, More Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1086-1114, October.
  10. Koleman S. Strumpf & Felix Oberholzer-Gee, 2002. "Endogenous Policy Decentralization: Testing the Central Tenet of Economic Federalism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-36, February.
  11. David Merriman, 2010. "The Micro-geography of Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Littered Cigarette Packs in Chicago," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 61-84, May.
  12. Ayres, Ian & Donohue, John J, III, 1999. "Nondiscretionary Concealed Weapons Laws: A Case Study of Statistics, Standards of Proof, and Public Policy [Review Article]," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 436-70, Fall.
  13. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
  14. Dube, Arindrajit & Dube, Oeindrila & GarcĂ­a-Ponce, Omar, 2012. "Cross-Border Spillover: U.S. Gun Laws and Violence in Mexico," IZA Discussion Papers 7098, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Mark Duggan & Randi Hjalmarsson & Brian A. Jacob, 2011. "The Short-Term and Localized Effect of Gun Shows: Evidence from California and Texas," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 786-799, August.
  16. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
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