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More Guns, More Crime

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  • Mark Duggan

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between gun ownership and crime. Previous research has suffered from a lack of reliable data on gun ownership. I exploit a unique data set to reliably estimate annual rates of gun ownership at both the state and the county levels during the past two decades. My findings demonstrate that changes in gun ownership are significantly positively related to changes in the homicide rate, with this relationship driven almost entirely by an impact of gun ownership on murders in which a gun is used. The effect of gun ownership on all other crime categories is much less marked. Recent reductions in the fraction of households owning a gun can explain one-third of the differential decline in gun homicides relative to nongun homicides since 1993.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Duggan, 2001. "More Guns, More Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1086-1114, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:109:y:2001:i:5:p:1086-1114
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    1. Ludwig, Jens, 1998. "Concealed-gun-carrying laws and violent crime: evidence from state panel data," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 239-254, September.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Glaeser, Edward L & Glendon, Spencer, 1998. "Who Owns Guns? Criminals, Victims, and the Culture of Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 458-462, May.
    5. John J. Donohue & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Legalized Abortion and Crime," JCPR Working Papers 104, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Donohue, John J, III & Levitt, Steven D, 1998. "Guns, Violence, and the Efficiency of Illegal Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 463-467, May.
    7. Black, Dan A & Nagin, Daniel S, 1998. "Do Right-to-Carry Laws Deter Violent Crime?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 209-219, January.
    8. Jens Otto Ludwig, 1998. "Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data," JCPR Working Papers 31, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    9. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    10. 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.
    11. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Causal Parameters and Policy Analysis in Economics: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 45-97.
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