Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence? Evidence from Castle Doctrine
From 2000 to 2010, more than 20 states passed laws that make it easier to use lethal force in self-defense. Elements of these laws include removing the duty to retreat in places outside of one's home, adding a presumption of reasonable belief of imminent harm, and removing civil liability for those acting under the law. This paper examines whether aiding self-defense in this way deters crime or, alternatively, increases homicide. To do so, we apply a difference-in-differences research design by exploiting the within-state variation in law adoption. We find no evidence of deterrence; burglary, robbery, and aggravated assault are unaffected by the laws. On the other hand, we find that homicides are increased by around 8 percent, and that these homicides are largely classified by police as murder. This suggests that a primary consequence of strengthened self-defense law is a net increase in homicide. Finally, we present back-of-the-envelope calculations using evidence on the relative increase in reported justifiable homicide, along with assumptions about the degree and nature of underreporting, to assess whether the entire increase was legally justified.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2012|
|Publication status:||published as “Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence? Evidence from Expansions to Castle Doctrine (with Cheng Cheng) Journal of Human Resources 2013, 48(3): 821-854.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- John J. Donohue & Justin Wolfers, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of the Death Penalty on Murder," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 249-309.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009.
"Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- 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.
- Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," NBER Working Papers 5928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
- Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- A. Colin Cameron & Pravin K. Trivedi, 2010. "Microeconometrics Using Stata, Revised Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number musr, January.
- Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
- McClellan, Chandler & Tekin, Erdal, 2012. "Stand Your Ground Laws and Homicides," IZA Discussion Papers 6705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Dezhbakhsh, Hashem & Rubin, Paul H, 1998. "Lives Saved or Lives Lost? The Effects of Concealed-Handgun Laws on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 468-474, May.
- 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.
- O'Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2010. "Homicide in black and white," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 215-230, November.
- 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.
- Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of Californiaâ€™s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
- Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
- Bronars, Stephen G & Lott, John R, Jr, 1998. "Criminal Deterrence, Geographic Spillovers, and the Right to Carry Concealed Handguns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 475-479, May. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18134. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.