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Testing for the Effects of Concealed Weapons Laws: Specification Errors and Robustness

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  • Moody, Carlisle E

Abstract

In 1997, John Lott and David Mustard published an important paper in which they found that right-to-carry concealed weapons laws reduce violent crime. Although Lott and Mustard appear to do all possible variations of the analysis, a closer reading reveals that the study might suffer from several possibly important errors. I re-estimate the model and check for incorrect functional form, omitted variables, and possible second-order bias in the t-ratios. Lott and Mustard's basic conclusions are generally robust with respect to these potential econometric problems. Overall, right-to-carry concealed weapons laws tend to reduce violent crime. The effect on property crime is more uncertain. I find evidence that these laws also reduce burglary. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

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  • Moody, Carlisle E, 2001. "Testing for the Effects of Concealed Weapons Laws: Specification Errors and Robustness," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 799-813, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:44:y:2001:i:2:p:799-813
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/323313
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    1. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G, 1981. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 781-793, May.
    2. Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-351.
    3. Marvell, Thomas B. & Moody, Carlisle E., 1997. "Age-structure trends and prison populations," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 115-124.
    4. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77.
    5. 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.
    6. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
    7. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlisle E. Moody & Thomas B. Marvell, 2009. "The Debate on Shall Issue Laws, Continued," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(2), pages 203-217, May.
    2. Kleck, Gary & Kovandzic, Tomislav & Schaffer, Mark E, 2005. "Gun Prevalence, Homicide Rates and Causality: A GMM Approach to Endogeneity Bias," CEPR Discussion Papers 5357, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Naci Mocan & Kaj Gittings, 2010. "The Impact of Incentives on Human Behavior: Can We Make it Disappear? The Case of the Death Penalty," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 379-418 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:kap:atlecj:v:45:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11293-016-9529-z is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Carlisle E. Moody & Thomas B. Marvell, 2008. "The Debate on Shall-Issue Laws," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5(3), pages 269-293, September.
    6. Benson, Bruce L & Mast, Brent D, 2001. "Privately Produced General Deterrence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 725-746, October.
    7. Mark Duggan & Randi Hjalmarsson & Brian A. Jacob, 2008. "The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas," NBER Working Papers 14371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Daniel Cerqueira & João Manoel Pinho de Mello, 2013. "Evaluating a National Anti-Firearm Law and Estimating the Causal Effect of Guns on Crime," Textos para discussão 607, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    9. Christoph Koenig & David Schindler, 2018. "Dynamics in Gun Ownership and Crime - Evidence from the Aftermath of Sandy Hook," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 18/694, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    10. Mark Gius, 2014. "An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 265-267, March.
    11. Mark Duggan, 2001. "More Guns, More Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1086-1114, October.
    12. 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.
    13. Depew, Briggs & Swensen, Isaac D., 2016. "The Decision to Carry: The Effect of Crime on Concealed-Carry Applications," IZA Discussion Papers 10236, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Helland Eric & Tabarrok Alexander, 2004. "Using Placebo Laws to Test "More Guns, Less Crime"," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-9, January.

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