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The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy

39 Pages Posted: 7 May 2016 Last revised: 10 Mar 2017

Michael Luca

Harvard Business School - Negotiations, Organizations & Markets Unit

Deepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit

Christopher Poliquin

Harvard Business School

Date Written: October 1, 2016

Abstract

There have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paper presents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, mass shootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. Second, mass shootings account for a small portion of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Our estimates suggest that the per-death impact of mass shootings on bills introduced is about 80 times as large as the impact of individual gun homicides in non-mass shooting incidents. Third, when looking at enacted laws, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. A mass shooting increases the number of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75% in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature.

Suggested Citation

Luca, Michael and Malhotra, Deepak K. and Poliquin, Christopher, The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy (October 1, 2016). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 16-126. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2776657 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2776657

Michael Luca (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Negotiations, Organizations & Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=ovr&facId=602417

Deepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School - Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Christopher Poliquin

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Wyss House
Boston, MA 02163
United States
207-415-0546 (Phone)

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