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View Diary: CORRECTION: Statistics, Guns, and Wishful Thinking (95 comments)

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  •  How about a full article? (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for the reference, I'll check it out.

    If there are many studies done, it might be interesting to write a ful dK diary about them.  I'd read it eagerly.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:40:28 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Here's an interesting article: (9+ / 0-)

      Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

      by KVoimakas on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 09:44:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That article is based on a study that was refuted (0+ / 0-)

        ... decades ago.

        From an initial look at these data it would seem that the risk of death at the hands of either the police or civilians would be of obvious concern to felons. It is evident that executions provide a disincentive to commit murder, as found by Ehrlich (1975)[16] who found that each execution deterred approximately seven to eight murders. Of course, justifiable homicides by police and by civilians are not solely in response to murder but are the result of attempts to commit murder either directly or in the course of committing other crimes. However, if each execution and each justifiable homicide results in 7.5 fewer murders, the total of 697 justifiable homicides each year should have deterred over 5,200 murders each year. Compared with the approximately 21,500 [Page 221] murders actually occurring each year as shown in Table 2,[17] this implies that the murder rate would have been about 24 percent higher without these justifiable homicides. The civilian justifiable homicides averaged 299 per year, which should have saved over 2,200 murders per year.
        In 1975, Professor Isaac Ehrlich published an influential article saying that during the 1950s and 1960s, each execution averted eight murders.2 Although Ehrlich’s research was a highly technical article prepared for an audience of economists, its influence went well beyond the economics profession. Ehrlich’s work was cited in Gregg v. Georgia3, the central U.S. Supreme Court decision restoring capital punishment. No matter how carefully Ehrlich qualified his conclusions, his article had the popular and political appeal of a headline, a sound bite and a bumper sticker all rolled into one. Reaction was immediate: Ehrlich’s findings were disputed in academic journals such as the Yale Law Journal4, launching an era of contentious arguments in the press and in professional journals.5 In 1978, an expert panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences issued strong criticisms of Ehrlich’s work.6 Over the next two decades, economists and other social scientists attempted (mostly without success) to replicate Ehrlich's results using different data, alternative statistical methods, and other twists that tried to address glaring errors in Ehrlich’s techniques and data. The accumulated scientific evidence from these later studies also weighed heavily against the claim that executions deter murders.7

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