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A Little More Lott

January 16th, 2003 · No Comments

In a fit of pathological obsession, I decided to do a little more digging on the question of Lott’s survey. University of Chicago professor William Landes was working on a paper with Lott around the time of the crash: he confirms that Lott lost quite a bit of data in July 1997, and emphasizes his general impression of Lott’s honesty — though he also cannot recall any discussion of a lost survey. There is something slightly more promising, however, from the former U of C Press editor who worked on the first edition of More Guns, Less Crime. Recall that Lott says he had intended to include a chapter on the survey in the book, but opted not to do so when the data was lost. Here’s what the editor wrote me:

I have a vague recollection of a chapter or a section or sections of a chapter that had to be scrapped because of the computer crash, but I don’t at this stage remember the subject of it (or them). At the time, we were talking about a variety of things John could do (e.g., including a chapter on mass public shootings). As to my e-mail archives, there are a couple of brief mentions in John’s and my exchanges about the crash and loss of data, though I have found nothing explicitly about the defensive use of handguns in them (which doesn’t mean anything in itself, since we were mostly talking on the phone and there must have been all kinds of things that were lost in the crash that we didn’t discuss in the archived e-mails I still have)

Still nothing explicit about the survey, but this does seem to confirm that at least some chapter had to be scrapped as a result of the crash, whereas the claim would have been falsified had no changes in the tentative plan of the book been made as a result of the crash.

Update: John Lott sent some of us a detailed response to the charges against him, and to Lindgren’s account, which Marie has already posted.

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