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Do more guns lead to more crime? Understanding the role of illegal firearms

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  • Khalil, Umair

Abstract

Using a detailed jurisdiction-quarter level dataset, I create a proxy for illegal firearm flows: the number of firearms reported stolen in each police jurisdiction, and map their effect on crime in the U.S. Estimates show a strong, positive impact of increased stolen firearms, in the previous quarters, on firearm aggravated assaults, homicides, and robberies in the current quarter. However, no statistically significant relationship is estimated between firearm flows and non-firearm offenses, providing a crucial falsification test. Various other robustness checks, including an analysis of potential spillovers in illegal firearm flows, find no evidence of a spurious relationship driving the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Khalil, Umair, 2017. "Do more guns lead to more crime? Understanding the role of illegal firearms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 342-361.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:133:y:2017:i:c:p:342-361
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.11.010
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    Cited by:

    1. Kahane, Leo H., 2020. "State gun laws and the movement of crime guns between states," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Illegal firearms; Crime; Assaults; Homicides;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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