Saturday, 20 September 2003

Disinterested parties in gun control

Glenn Reynolds throws up his hands at the latest round in the John Lott feud:

What I’d like is to see an authoritative look at this by a disinterested party. I’m not qualified to provide that. I’d like to see someone who is come forward and sort all of this out.

Anyone motivated enough to “come forward and sort all of this out” would, by definition, no longer be disinterested. The only thing I can think of: rename all the variables and give the dataset and the alternate specifications to an econometrician (or six)—preferably one who has lived under a rock the past ten years.

Anyway, rather than volunteering myself—not only because this whole debate is too political for anyone with my political leanings to be considered objective (despite my rather ambivalent personal attitudes towards guns), but also because I don’t personally find “public policy” questions that interesting to study and because, well, I do have a dissertation that I’m supposed to be finishing revisions on this weekend—I’ll just recommend reading this book on the politics of gun control (a research topic I find more interesting than simply the effects of gun ownership), because (a) it’s pretty good and (b) one of the members of my dissertation committee co-edited it.