aThe regressions use the covariates and specification from the original Lott and Mustard (1997) models that do not control for state poverty, unemployment, death penalty execution rates, or regional time trends. The controls include the arrest rate for the crime category in question (AOVIOICP), population density in the county, real per capita income variables (RPCPI RPCUI RPCIM RPCRPO), county population (POPC), and variables for the percentage of the population that is in each of many race × age × gender categories (e.g., PBM1019 is the percentage of the population that is black, male, and between ages 10 and 19).
Control Variables and Specification
The most common modifications to Lott’s original analyses of right-to-carry laws has been to assess the sensitivity of the findings to variation in the control variables or the specification of the model. Lott’s basic model relies on dozens of controls, but concerns have been raised that some controls may be missing, others may be unnecessary, and still others may be endogenous (that is, related to the unobserved determinates of county crime rates).
Duggan (2001), for example, raises concerns that county-level control variables may not be precisely measured on an annual basis and that the arrest rate control variable, which includes the crime rate in the denominator, may bias the estimates. In response to these concerns, Duggan estimated a simple dummy variable model that controls only for year and county fixed effects.7 Duggan drops all other covariates from the model. When estimated on all county-year observations with nonmissing crime
Duggan also changed the coding of the dates of adoption of right-to-carry laws, although this had only a minimal effect on the estimates. According to Duggan (2001) and others (see, for example, Ayres and Donohue, 2003a), there is an inconsistency in the coding used by Lott and Mustard. Duggan finds that in 8 of the 10 right-to-carry states, the adoption date is defined as the year the law was passed, but in 2 states, Florida and Georgia, the adoption date is set to the calendar year after the law was passed. Lott, in personal communications, maintains that the dates are coded correctly. The committee does not take a stand on which coding is correct.