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Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence?:Evidence from Expansions to Castle Doctrine

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  • Cheng Cheng
  • Mark Hoekstra

Abstract

From 2000 to 2010, more than 20 states passed so-called “Castle Doctrine” or “stand your ground” laws. These laws expand the legal justification for the use of lethal force in self-defense, thereby lowering the expected cost of using lethal force and increasing the expected cost of committing violent crime. This paper exploits the within-state variation in self-defense law to examine their effect on homicides and violent crime. Results indicate the laws do not deter burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. In contrast, they lead to a statistically significant 8 percent net increase in the number of reported murders and nonnegligent manslaughters.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng Cheng & Mark Hoekstra, 2013. "Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence?:Evidence from Expansions to Castle Doctrine," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 821-854.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:48:y:2013:iii:1:p:821-854
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    Cited by:

    1. Huber III Arthur & Newman Rebecca & LaFave Daniel, 2016. "Cannabis Control and Crime: Medicinal Use, Depenalization and the War on Drugs," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 1-35, October.
    2. Abdul Munasib & Genti Kostandini & Jeffrey L. Jordan, 2018. "Impact of the Stand Your Ground law on gun deaths: evidence of a rural urban dichotomy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 527-554, June.
    3. McClellan, Chandler & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "Stand Your Ground Laws and Homicides," IZA Discussion Papers 6705, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Michael Spanbauer, 2017. "Self-defense Policy, Justified Homicides, and Race," Working Papers 1708, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2018.
    5. Anderson, D. Mark & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2018. "Child Access Prevention Laws and Juvenile Firearm-Related Homicides," IZA Discussion Papers 11898, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Anderson, D. Mark & Sabia, Joseph J., 2016. "Child Access Prevention Laws, Youth Gun Carrying, and School Shootings," IZA Discussion Papers 9830, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Wei Long, 2016. "Does Longer Incarceration Deter or Incapacitate Crimes? New Evidence from Truth-in-Sentencing Reform," Working Papers 1607, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    8. Chandler McClellan & Erdal Tekin, 2017. "Stand Your Ground Laws, Homicides, and Injuries," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(3), pages 621-653.
    9. Ackermann, Nicole & Goodman, Melody S. & Gilbert, Keon & Arroyo-Johnson, Cassandra & Pagano, Marcello, 2015. "Race, law, and health: Examination of ‘Stand Your Ground’ and defendant convictions in Florida," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 194-201.
    10. O’Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2015. "Urban Crime," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1519-1621, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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