Exposure to a School Shooting and Subsequent Well-Being

46 Pages Posted: Last revised: 4 Jan 2021

See all articles by Phillip Levine

Phillip Levine

Wellesley College

Robin McKnight

Wellesley College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of school shootings on the educational performance and long-term health consequences of students who survive them, highlighting the impact of indiscriminate, high-fatality incidents. Initially, we focus on test scores in the years following a shooting. We also examine whether exposure to a shooting affects chronic absenteeism, which may play a role in explaining any such effect, and school expenditures, which may counteract it. We analyze national, school-district level data and additional school-level data from Connecticut in this part of the analysis. In terms of effects on health status, we focus on its most extreme measure, mortality in the years following a shooting. In this part of the analysis, we analyze county-level data on mortality by cause. In all analyses, we treat the timing of these events as random, enabling us to identify causal effects. Our results indicate that indiscriminate, high-fatality school shootings, such as those that occurred at Sandy Hook and Columbine, have considerable adverse effects on students exposed to them. We cannot rule out substantive effects of other types of shootings with fewer or no fatalities.

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Suggested Citation

Levine, Phillip and McKnight, Robin, Exposure to a School Shooting and Subsequent Well-Being (December 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w28307, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3759845

Phillip Levine (Contact Author)

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central St.
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States

Robin McKnight

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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