Empirical Economics

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 233–263 | Cite as

The effects of gun control on crimes: a spatial interactive fixed effects approach

  • Wei Shi
  • Lung-fei LeeEmail author


This paper examines the effect of right-to-carry laws on crimes. We relax the assumption that unobserved time effects have homogeneous impacts on states; therefore, states with right-to-carry laws may follow different time trends which might be stronger or weaker than those of other states including states with no right-to-carry laws. The heterogeneous time trends are modeled by a factor structure where time factors represent time-varying unobservables, and factor loadings account for their heterogeneous impacts across states. No assumption is imposed on the shape of the time trend. Crime statistics exhibit spatial dependence, and a state’s adoption of right-to-carry law may have external effects on its neighboring states. Using a dynamic spatial panel model with interactive effects, we find positive spatial spillovers in crime rates. Depending on a crime category, an average \(1\%\) reduction in crime rates in neighboring states can decrease crime rates by 0.069–0.287%, with property crimes exhibiting higher degrees of spatial dependence than violent crimes. We find that although the passage of right-to-carry laws has no significant effects on the overall violent or property crime rates, they lead to short-term increases in robbery and medium-term decreases in murder rates. The results are robust to the number of factors, a different sample ending point, and some alternative spatial weights matrices and model specifications.


Spatial panel data Cross-sectional and spatial dependence Interactive fixed effects Crime 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Economic and Social ResearchJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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