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Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data

Author

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  • Leigh, Andrew

    () (Australian National University)

  • Neill, Christine

    () (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Abstract

In 1997, Australia implemented a gun buyback program that reduced the stock of firearms by around one-fifth. Using differences across states in the number of firearms withdrawn, we test whether the reduction in firearms availability affected firearm homicide and suicide rates. We find that the buyback led to a drop in the firearm suicide rates of almost 80 per cent, with no statistically significant effect on non-firearm death rates. The estimated effect on firearm homicides is of similar magnitude, but is less precise. The results are robust to a variety of specification checks, and to instrumenting the state-level buyback rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Leigh, Andrew & Neill, Christine, 2010. "Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4995
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Socioeconomic Factors and Suicide Rates at Large-unit Aggregate Levels: A Comment," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 40(13), pages 2769-2776, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Briggs, Justin Thomas & Tabarrok, Alexander, 2014. "Firearms and suicides in US states," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 180-188.
    2. Jan C. Ours & Ben Vollaard, 2016. "The Engine Immobiliser: A Nonā€starter for Car Thieves," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1264-1291, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Taylor, Benjamin & Li, Jing, 2015. "Do fewer guns lead to less crime? Evidence from Australia," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 72-78.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    suicide; homicide; firearms ownership; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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