Sticking to One's Guns: Mass Shootings and the Political Economy of Gun Control in the U.S.
66 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2019
Date Written: January 1, 2018
Do events that draw public attention towards an issue impact electoral outcomes? I compile data on mass shootings 2000-16 to analyze the impact of mass shootings on political outcomes. Using a Difference-in-Differences strategy, I find that Republicans lose votes in areas with mass shootings after the event. Identification relying on comparing successful and failed mass shootings yields similar results. Mass shootings lead to an increase in the importance of gun policy, while do not change the average preferred gun policy among the electorate. Moreover, these events increase the divide on gun policy among both voters and politicians: Democrats (Republicans) tend to demand even greater (lower) gun control after mass shootings.
Keywords: Mass Shootings, Gun Policy, Salience, Polarization, Issue-Voting
JEL Classification: D72, D83, H11, J18, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation