Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data

57 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2010

See all articles by Andrew Leigh

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House; Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU; IZA

Christine Neill

Wilfrid Laurier University

Abstract

In 1997, Australia implemented a gun buyback program that reduced the stock of firearms by around one-fifth. Using differences across states in the number of firearms withdrawn, we test whether the reduction in firearms availability affected firearm homicide and suicide rates. We find that the buyback led to a drop in the firearm suicide rates of almost 80 per cent, with no statistically significant effect on non-firearm death rates. The estimated effect on firearm homicides is of similar magnitude, but is less precise. The results are robust to a variety of specification checks, and to instrumenting the state-level buyback rate.

Keywords: firearms ownership, homicide, suicide, panel data

JEL Classification: I12, K14

Suggested Citation

Leigh, Andrew and Neill, Christine, Do Gun Buybacks Save Lives? Evidence from Panel Data. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4995. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1631130

Andrew Leigh (Contact Author)

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House ( email )

Canberra, 2600
Australia

Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU ( email )

ANU College of Business and Economics
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

IZA ( email )

Christine Neill

Wilfrid Laurier University ( email )

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5
Canada

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