September 19, 2003

JIM LINDGREN HAS COMMENTS ON THE JOHN LOTT ISSUE that are quoted over at Tim Lambert's site:

I fairly quickly returned to being highly uncertain whether Lott ever did the survey he claimed to have done in 1997. I have told the couple of reporters who called me since February 1 (including a few weeks ago, Chris Mooney for a forthcoming story) that I still have substantial doubts whether John Lott ever did the supposed 1997 study.

I also agree with almost every point in Ayres and Donohue’s two critiques of Lott’s work in the Stanford Law Review, which I find absolutely devastating to the primary thesis of John Lott’s work. The findings of Ayres and Donohue tend to support the conclusion that more open gun laws either have no effect or lead to slightly higher rates for some crimes, a result that I find plausible even beyond the high quality of their work in that exchange.

As I wrote a while back, Lott has been the subject of so many bogus attacks that I've been skeptical of this one. But I trust Jim Lindgren as a neutral arbiter with expertise in the area, and it seems to me that this time Lott's critics have him dead to rights, and he's failed to mount a convincing response.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh, while noting that Lambert's site is basically dedicated to criticism of Lott, comments: "Lindgren is a very smart guy who knows a lot about quantative scholarship, and who to my knowledge has no axe to grind on this; remember that he was the most prominent critic of Michael Bellesiles."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here are some posts by John Lott, responding to criticisms. And here is his main website.

Now I'm getting email from Lott supporters, complaining that I'm picking on him. I guess you can't please everyone. 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.