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The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths


  • Wang-Sheng Lee

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Sandy Suardi

    (Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University)


The 1996-97 National Firearms Agreement (NFA) in Australia introduced strict gun laws, primarily as a reaction to the mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996, where 35 people were killed. Despite the fact that several researchers using the same data have examined the impact of the NFA on firearm deaths, a consensus does not appear to have been reached. In this paper, we re-analyze the same data on firearm deaths used in previous research, using tests for unknown structural breaks as a means to identifying impacts of the NFA. The results of these tests suggest that the NFA did not have any large effects on reducing firearm homicide or suicide rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang-Sheng Lee & Sandy Suardi, 2008. "The Australian Firearms Buyback and Its Effect on Gun Deaths," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2008n17, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2008n17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anne Morrison Piehl & Suzanne J. Cooper & Anthony A. Braga & David M. Kennedy, 2003. "Testing for Structural Breaks in the Evaluation of Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 550-558, August.
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    3. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
    4. Baker, J & McPhedran, S, 2007. "Gun laws and sudden death: Did the Australian firearms legislation of 1996 make a difference?," MPRA Paper 40534, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Bai, Jushan, 1997. "Estimating Multiple Breaks One at a Time," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 315-352, June.
    6. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
    7. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-856, July.
    8. Hansen, Bruce E, 1997. "Approximate Asymptotic P Values for Structural-Change Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(1), pages 60-67, January.
    9. Hansen, Bruce E., 2000. "Testing for structural change in conditional models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 93-115, July.
    10. Andrews, Donald W K & Ploberger, Werner, 1994. "Optimal Tests When a Nuisance Parameter Is Present Only under the Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1383-1414, November.
    11. Christine Neill & Andrew Leigh, 2007. "Weak Tests and Strong Conclusions: A Re-Analysis of Gun Deaths and the Australian Firearms Buyback," CEPR Discussion Papers 555, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    12. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • K19 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Other

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