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Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data


  • Christine Neill


In 1997, Australia implemented a gun buyback program that reduced the stock of firearms by around one-fifth (and nearly halved the number of gun-owning households). Using differences across states, we test whether the reduction in firearms availability affected homicide and suicide rates. We find that the buyback led to a drop in the firearm suicide rates of almost 80%, with no significant effect on non-firearm death rates. The effect on firearm homicides is of similar magnitude but is less precise. The results are robust to a variety of specification checks and to instrumenting the state-level buyback rate. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Christine Neill, 2010. "Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 462-508.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:12:y:2010:i:2:p:462-508

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Socioeconomic Factors and Suicide Rates at Large-unit Aggregate Levels: A Comment," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 40(13), pages 2769-2776, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Briggs, Justin Thomas & Tabarrok, Alexander, 2014. "Firearms and suicides in US states," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 180-188.
    2. Jan C. Ours & Ben Vollaard, 2016. "The Engine Immobiliser: A Nonā€starter for Car Thieves," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1264-1291, June.
    3. Gregory E. Goering, 2011. "Gun Buybacks and Firm Behavior: Do Buyback Programs Really Reduce the Number of Guns?," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 1, pages 31-42, February.
    4. Taylor, Benjamin & Li, Jing, 2015. "Do fewer guns lead to less crime? Evidence from Australia," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 72-78.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law


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