The social costs of gun ownership revisited

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The social costs of gun ownership revisited

Category: Firearm Availability, Homicide|Journal: Empirical Economics (full text)|Author: B Hayo, C Westphal, F Neumeier|Year: 2019

Cook and Ludwig (J Public Econ 90:379–391, 2006) use data on homicide rates and gun prevalence proxies from US counties over the period 1980–1999 and, in their panel data analysis, find a positive and statistically significant association between both variables. We reexamine their analysis and show that their findings are driven by spurious correlations arising from the use of a common denominator (ratio fallacy) to deflate both dependent and independent variables. When we attempt to replicate their results accounting for these issues, we no longer find any evidence that gun ownership is linked to homicides.

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