Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Fewer Guns...

More Violence. The NRA will love this piece of research! MIT's Laura Ralston has a paper that looks at a disarmament campaign in Uganda, and finds that there is more violence afterwards. Remarkably, it's not cross-border raids from Kenya that increased, but Ugandan-on-Ugandan violence:
This paper studies the effect of Uganda’s 2006 disarmament policy in the Karamoja region in East Africa, a traditional tribal area that is one of the most violent places in the world. This policy greatly reduced the guns of tribes in the Ugandan districts of the region but not in the Kenyan districts. Theoretically, the impact of the disarmament is ambiguous, since guns can be used for deterrence as well as helping aggressors carry out crimes, such as livestock raiding. For example, disarmament could reduce the advantage of heavily armed tribes over weakly armed tribes and lower the number of tribes willing to carry out raids. At the same time, it will also lower the expected cost of confrontations for all tribes, which may lead to more tribes initiating raids, particularly if the weakly armed tribes begin to raid. Empirically, I find that the disarmament campaign had the unintended effect of increasing the frequency of raids in Uganda by about 40%, while, consistent with the idea that disarmament reduced the costs of raiding, I find no impact on the monthly death rate. Moreover, this increase in raids in Uganda was driven by an increase in Ugandan initiated raids on other Ugandans, not an increase in Kenyan initiated raids on Ugandans, suggesting that in this context the deterrent effect of guns outweighs their impact as a tool of aggression.

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