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The effects of gun control on crimes: a spatial interactive fixed effects approach

Author

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  • Wei Shi

    (Jinan University)

  • Lung-fei Lee

    (The Ohio State University)

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of right-to-carry laws on crimes. We relax the assumption that unobserved time effects have homogeneous impacts on states; therefore, states with right-to-carry laws may follow different time trends which might be stronger or weaker than those of other states including states with no right-to-carry laws. The heterogeneous time trends are modeled by a factor structure where time factors represent time-varying unobservables, and factor loadings account for their heterogeneous impacts across states. No assumption is imposed on the shape of the time trend. Crime statistics exhibit spatial dependence, and a state’s adoption of right-to-carry law may have external effects on its neighboring states. Using a dynamic spatial panel model with interactive effects, we find positive spatial spillovers in crime rates. Depending on a crime category, an average $$1\%$$ 1 % reduction in crime rates in neighboring states can decrease crime rates by 0.069–0.287%, with property crimes exhibiting higher degrees of spatial dependence than violent crimes. We find that although the passage of right-to-carry laws has no significant effects on the overall violent or property crime rates, they lead to short-term increases in robbery and medium-term decreases in murder rates. The results are robust to the number of factors, a different sample ending point, and some alternative spatial weights matrices and model specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei Shi & Lung-fei Lee, 2018. "The effects of gun control on crimes: a spatial interactive fixed effects approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 233-263, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:55:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00181-017-1415-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-017-1415-2
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