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More Trouble for Lott

April 26th, 2003 · No Comments

Tim Lambert reports on some new trouble for John Lott. Back when I was writing about the survey and pseudonym hubbub, I tried to stress that Lott’s major conclusion—that concealed carry laws reduce crime—wasn’t really undermined by either issue, even if they might legitimately give rise to doubts about his general reliability. Well, now there are some questions on that front as well. Lambert summarizes:

Ian Ayres and John Donohue wrote a paper that found that, if anything, concealed carry laws lead to more crime. Lott, (along with Florenz Plassmann and John Whitley) wrote a reply where they argued that using data up to 2000 confirmed the “more guns, less crime” hypothesis. In Ayres and Donohue’s response to that paper, they found that Lott’s data contained numerous coding errors that, when corrected, reversed the results. Furthermore, this was the second time these sorts of errors had been found in Lott’s data. Lott had presented to the NAS panel figures showing sharp declines in crime following carry laws. Declines which disappeared when the coding errors were corrected. Finally, when Lott saw Ayres and Donohue’s response he had his name removed from the final paper.

Instapundit posts on the same issue, and in this instance seems unwilling to defend Lott’s conclusions absent further investigation. Like Glenn, I’m not qualified to evaluate the critique. Funny thing about the media is that if it’s correct, it’s far more significant than any of the other stuff that so inflamed the blogosphere, but will almost certainly get much less play.

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