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More Guns, Less Crime Fails Again: The Latest Evidence from 1977–2006

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  • Ian Ayres
  • John J. Donohue

Abstract

In their reply to our comment on their initial paper, Moody and Marvell continue their analysis of right-to-carry (RTC) laws using panel data for the period 1977–2000. But with six additional years of data now available for analysis, we think the need for further parsing of older data is of limited value in assessing the more guns, less crime hypothesis. In this comment, we add six years of data to what Moody and Marvell previously analyzed. We show that, whether one looks at the original Lott and Mustard specification, the latest Moody and Marvell specification, or a plausible alternative specification, there is consistent evidence for the unsurprising proposition that RTC laws increase aggravated assault. We address some anomalies in these models and their resulting estimates. The Lott and Mustard model, for example, suffers from omitted-variable bias in failing to control for the impact of incarceration. In addition, the Moody and Marvell model generates odd predictions of the impact of incarceration on crime for most crime categories, and it appears to suggest (anomalously) that crack had no impact on murder. These and other problems raise questions about how well these regressions work to reveal the true effect on crime of RTC laws. For instance, would better data and models reveal that the estimated increases in murder and robbery are also statistically significant, as they are for the related violent crime of aggravated assault? Or might the estimated effect of aggravated assault be altered if we knew the full impact of changing police responses to domestic violence?

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Ayres & John J. Donohue, 2009. "More Guns, Less Crime Fails Again: The Latest Evidence from 1977–2006," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(2), pages 218-238, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:6:y:2009:i:2:p:218-238
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ian Ayres & John J. Donohue, 2009. "Yet Another Refutation of the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis—With Some Help From Moody and Marvell," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(1), pages 35-59, January.
    2. Roland G. Fryer & Paul S. Heaton & Steven D. Levitt & Kevin M. Murphy, 2005. "Measuring the Impact of Crack Cocaine," NBER Working Papers 11318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Abhay Aneja & John J. Donohue III & Alexandria Zhang, 2012. "The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the NRC Report: The Latest Lessons for the Empirical Evaluation of Law and Policy," NBER Working Papers 18294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Durlauf, Steven N. & Navarro, Salvador & Rivers, David A., 2016. "Model uncertainty and the effect of shall-issue right-to-carry laws on crime," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 32-67.
    3. Barati, Mehdi, 2016. "New evidence on the impact of concealed carry weapon laws on crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 76-83.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Law and economics; Criminal Justice Policy; guns and crime;

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law

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