12/12/03
Baghdad's Distorted Murder Rate

Unfortunately, there have been a lot of incorrect information regarding the relative murder rates in Baghdad and Washington DC. My latest piece in Investors' Business Daily goes through the sources of the different numbers and explains why some newspapers have published estimated murder rates for Baghdad that were possibly 28 times higher than they actually were for October.

Update: Michael O'Hanlon, a co-author of one of the articles that I commented on in my Investors' Business Daily piece, was helpful in getting to the bottom of these claims. First, he responded quickly and was not defensive when I asked him for his sources on the Baghdad murder rate. Second, in an e-mail he told me that he had himself tried to contact the Defense Department to obtain their estimates on the number of murders in Baghdad. Unfortunately, as often occurs with bureaucracies, they did not get him the information that he requested. In a recent e-mail exchange that I had with him he indicated: "you were more successful, and I commend you for that." (Link to a copy of the e-mail from O'Hanlon has been disabled at his request.)

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Cold Comfort, Economist John Lott discusses the benefits of guns--and the hazards of pointing them out.

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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