Gun Violence: The Real Costs

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 2000 - Social Science - 258 pages
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100 billion dollars. That is the annual cost of gun violence in America according to the authors of this landmark study, a book destined to change the way Americans view the problem of gun-related violence.

Until now researchers have assessed the burden imposed by gunshot injuries and deaths in terms of medical costs and lost productivity. Here, economists Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig widen the lens, developing a framework to calculate the full costs borne by Americans in a society where both gun violence and its ever-present threat mandate responses that touch every aspect of our lives.

All of us, no matter where we reside or how we live, share the costs of gun violence. Whether waiting in line to pass through airport security or paying taxes for the protection of public officials; whether buying a transparent book bag for our children to meet their school's post-Columbine regulations or subsidizing an urban trauma center, the steps we take are many and the expenditures enormous.

Cook and Ludwig reveal that investments in prevention, avoidance, and harm reduction, both public and private, constitute a far greater share of the gun-violence burden than previously recognized. They also employ extensive survey data to measure the subjective costs of living in a society where there is risk of being shot or losing a loved one or neighbor to gunfire.

At the same time, they demonstrate that the problem of gun violence is not intractable. Their review of the available evidence suggests that there are both additional gun regulations and targeted law enforcement measures that will help.

This urgently needed book documents for the first time how gun violence diminishes the quality of life for everyone in America. In doing so, it will move the debate over gun violence past symbolic politics to a direct engagement with the costs and benefits of policies that hold promise for reducing gun violence and may even pay for themselves.
  

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Contents

I
3
II
15
III
29
IV
45
V
63
VI
75
VII
85
VIII
97
X
135
XI
145
XIII
171
XIV
177
XVI
193
XVII
215
XVIII
231
Copyright

IX
117

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About the author (2000)


Philip J. Cook is the ITT/Sanford Professor of Public Policy at Duke University and Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has been conducting research on firearms and violence for over 25 years, and has served as consultant to the Departments of Justice and the Treasury. He has written extensively on alcohol control, gambling, the economics of crime, and other topics, and is co-author of The Winner-Take-All Society (1995) and Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (1989).
Jens Ludwig is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University and Affiliated Expert of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. He conducts research on public policies related to crime and education, and has provided testimony on gun policy to state legislatures and other groups in California, Kansas, and Minnesota.

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