Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 207-226

First online:

The Benefits of Reducing Gun Violence: Evidence from Contingent-Valuation Survey Data

  • Jens LudwigAffiliated withNational Consortium on Violence Research, and Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University
  • , Philip J. CookAffiliated withNational Consortium on Violence Research, and National Bureau of Economic Research, Duke University

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This article presents an estimate of the benefits of reducing crime using the contingent-valuation (CV) method. We focus on gun violence, a crime of growing policy concern in America. Our data come from a national survey in which we ask respondents referendum-type questions that elicit their willingness-to-pay (WTP) to reduce gun violence by 30%. We estimate that the public's WTP to reduce gun assaults by 30% equals $24.5 billion, or around $1.2 million per injury. Our estimate implies a statistical value of life that is quite consistent with those derived from other methods.

costs of crime gun violence contingent valuation