Further discussion of Ian Ayres & John Donohue

The Wichita Eagle October 12, 2003 Sunday MAIN EDITION

. . .

They also will hear conflicting research.

John Lott, a former University of Chicago professor now with the American Enterprise Institute, became nationally known in the 1990s for research he says shows that allowing concealed weapons reduces crime.

He has published two versions of his book, " More Guns, Less Crime, " and recently authored a book titled "The Bias Against Guns. "

"There just haven't been bad experiences," he said in an interview.

He cites Texas, where the state Department of Public Safety reported that in 2001, only half of 1 percent of crimes against people -- murder, assault, robbery and others -- were committed by people who had permits to carry guns.

"It's just very hard to find cases where permit holders do anything wrong, particularly anything wrong with a gun," Lott said.

Among his most vocal academic critics is John Donohue, a Stanford University law professor whose published critiques of Lott's works cite errors in handling crime data.

"It's abundantly clear that there is no support for his thesis," Donohue said. "It borders on fraud for anyone to try to make the case that there is a drop in crime."

He said Lott's earlier work failed to account for the peak and subsequent decline in violent crime related to the advent of crack cocaine in the 1980s and said later updates had coding errors.

My Notes: See Plassmann and Whitley's paper (p. 1361) for a discussion of the claim that “Lott's earlier work failed to account” for cocaine. For example, my previous research used county level data for the US that was available on cocaine prices. Several other tests were also employed that should directly deal with the regional claims made by Ayres and Donohue. The language used by Donohue is very disappointing, but it has become extremely typical of the type of statements that he makes and this particular statement is probably relatively mild. I suppose that he feels that these statements will draw more attention to his claims. One has to wonder what other academics think about this. That is especially true when claims that he and Ayres have continually made about me not accounting for things like the impact of cocaine are so easy for researchers to check. Minor correction. I was a Law and Economics Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School and a visiting assistant professor for a year in the business school.


Johnlott.org (description of book, downloadable data sets, and discussions of previous controversies)

Academic papers:

Social Science Research Network

Book Reviews:

For a list of book reviews on The Bias Against Guns, click here.


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Why don't media cover the good-news stories about guns?

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The Drug World's Easy Riders

Letting Teachers Pack Guns Will Make America's Schools Safer

Right to carry would disprove horror stories

U.N. vs. Guns
An international gun-control fight.

When Welfare is Disguised as a Tax Cut

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Armed and safer Iraqis

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Gun control advocates' credibility on line

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Can U.S. Be More Secure By Arming Off-Duty Cops?

Bullets and Bunkum
The futility of 'ballistic fingerprinting.'

No magic bullet

Tough gun laws don't reduce crime

Much Ado About Nothing

Collection of some of my other op-eds


Craig Newmark

Eric Rasmusen

William Sjostrom

Dr. T's EconLinks.com

Some data not found at www.johnlott.org:

Updated Media Analysis of Appalachian Law School Attack

Since the first news search was done additional news stories have been added to Nexis:

There are thus now 218 unique stories, and a total of 294 stories counting duplicates (the stories in yellow were duplicates): Excel file for general overview and specific stories. Explicit mentions of defensive gun use increase from 2 to 3 now.

Journal of Legal Studies paper on spoiled ballots during the 2000 Presidential Election

Data set from USA Today, STATA 7.0 data set

"Do" File for some of the basic regressions from the paper