Philip J. Cook

Philip J. Cook
Duke University | DU · Sanford School of Public Policy

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266
Publications
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Publications

Publications (266)
Article
For every fatal shooting in the United States, detailed information from reports of coroner or medical examiners, police departments, and other sources is recorded in the National Violent Death Reporting System. There is no such system in place for nonfatal shootings, which far outnumber fatalities. Hospital data systems are in place that could, wi...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Public health agencies worldwide have determined that there is no safe level for children’s exposure to lead, a neurotoxin. This study shows that lead in drinking water from private wells is significantly associated with juvenile delinquency. Compared to children in homes with public water supplies, those relying on private wells have...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this study is to describe the creation, implementation, activities and rationale for the Area Technology Centers (ATCs), an innovation adopted by the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD’s) Bureau of Detectives (BoD) in 2019 for the purpose of supporting investigations of crimes of serious violence by deploying specialized teams...
Article
Purpose Clearance rates for nonfatal shootings, especially cases involving gang- and drug-related violence, are disturbingly low in many US cities. Using data from a previously completed project in Boston, we explore the prospects for improving gang/drug nonfatal shooting cases by investing the same investigative effort found in similar gang/drug g...
Article
Just one in ten nonfatal shootings in Chicago lead to an arrest. Unlike in fatal cases, gunshot victims who survive can often provide information of use in the police investigation. Nonetheless, nonfatal shooting cases in Chicago and elsewhere have much lower arrest rates than fatal cases, in part because most victims do not cooperate. We use data...
Article
New York City (NYC) has experienced large reductions in violent crime over the last two decades, but gun-related violence continues to pose a threat to public safety. Despite strong gun laws, high-risk individuals in NYC neighborhoods are unfortunately still able to access and misuse firearms. This research analyzes NYC's underground gun market by...
Article
The Stockholm Prize for 2020 was awarded for research on gun violence and its prevention, and recognizes the growing depth and scope of this field. I am honored to be a co‐recipient, together with Franklin E. Zimring. This essay focuses on three of the topics that have been on my agenda over the course of the last 45 years: how best to conceptualiz...
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Significance In the United States, 13% of households depend on an unregulated private well for their water. Compared with children in houses served by a regulated water utility, children in these homes have a 25% increased risk of elevated blood lead. Because lead is a neurotoxin, these children are at greater risk of experiencing irreversible cogn...
Chapter
With So Many Guns Out There, Is There Any Point to Gun Control? Yes. The evidence suggests that certain regulations have been effective in reducing gun use in crime. And even in the United States, guns are not as readily available as some commentators...
Chapter
Why Is Self-Defense Central to the Debate over Gun Control? Personal safety is a vital matter, and self-protection is a more compelling rationale for owning guns than recreation. We can all conjure up the nightmare scenario of being defenseless in a violent confrontation with...
Chapter
What Is a Gun? A more precise term for the subject of this book is firearm, which is a portable weapon that shoots projectiles from a metal tube, propelled at high speed by expanding gas that is generated by the explosion of gunpowder in...
Chapter
How Large Is the Gun Industry in America? The gun industry itself is rather small by traditional measures. Only a handful of companies produce a significant number of firearms in the United States, and at most 150,000 people are employed in the industry—about 1...
Chapter
Every question about guns, gun violence, or gun policy is contentious. Basic facts—the annual number of gun transactions, or even the number of guns in private hands—are not known with any precision. Estimates of the costs and consequences of our nation’s gun laws are...
Chapter
Is There a Uniquely American Gun Culture? Yes. We know of no other country where firearms are as plentiful and as inextricably linked to individual identity and popular values as they are in the United States. Citizens of other nations possess and use guns,...
Book
No topic is more polarizing than guns and gun control. From a gun culture that took root early in American history to the mass shootings that repeatedly bring the public discussion of gun control to a fever pitch, the topic has preoccupied citizens, public officials, and special interest groups for decades. In this thoroughly revised second edition...
Chapter
What Is the Gun Rights Movement? The gun rights movement consists of several hundred local, state, and national organizations that seek to promote a positive view of firearms in public life and to prevent and remove restrictions on gun ownership and use. Generally speaking,...
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How Many Americans Are Killed or Injured by Gunfire? Approximately 1 million Americans have died from gunshot wounds in homicides, accidents, and suicides during just the last three decades—more than all combat deaths in all wars in US history. In 2017, the National Center...
Chapter
Do Americans Want Stricter Gun Laws? Public opinion experts have long observed that the United States has a gun control paradox: Most Americans favor all sorts of firearms regulations—sometimes overwhelmingly so—yet these regulations are not enacted into law. Four decades ago, one scholar noted...
Chapter
What Is the Gun Violence Prevention Movement? Like the gun rights movement, the gun violence prevention movement includes national, state, and local organizations. Some are single-issue organizations, spending all their time on gun violence prevention, while others are multi-issue allies from the women’s, religious,...
Chapter
Who Can Be Trusted with a Gun? A simplistic but common understanding of crime is that the population can be divided neatly into two groups, good guys and bad guys. In this view, the bad guys commit crime unless they are locked up, and...
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What Are the Basics of the US System of Gun Regulation? Gun regulations have a long history, stretching back to the colonial era. By and large, the laws have been enacted to secure the common defense, to protect individuals from harm, to assist law-enforcement...
Article
Most states have moved their public-school-entry cut date forward in recent years. In North Carolina the latest date by which a matriculant must turn 5 was recently changed from October 16th to August 31st. Those born in between the old and new cut dates (the “swing group”), formerly among the youngest entrants, became the oldest. Utilizing a compr...
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In "Consentability," Nancy Kim tackles an important and current topic—in an age of increasing options about how to live, die, and procreate, what limits, if any, should the law place on those choices? "Consentability" is a valuable resource for scholars and policymakers alike, summarizing the arguments for and against government intrusion on the ch...
Article
The prevailing view is that follow‐up investigations are of limited value as crimes are primarily cleared by patrol officers making on‐scene arrests and through the presence of eyewitnesses and forensic evidence at the initial crime scene. We use a quasi‐experimental design to compare investigative resources invested in clearing gun homicide cases...
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This paper provides a summary of our report for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on proactive policing. We find that there is sufficient scientific evidence to support the adoption of many proactive policing practices if the primary goal is to reduce crime, though the evidence base generally does not provide long-term or...
Article
Guns that are used in crime and recovered by the police typically have changed hands often since first retail sale and are quite old. While there is an extensive literature on “time to crime” for guns, defined as the elapsed time from first retail sale to known use in a crime, there is little information available on the duration of the “last link”...
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We respond to the new article by Hayo, Neumeier, and Westphal (HNW), which is a critique of our 2006 article. The principal contribution of that article was to use a greatly improved proxy for gun prevalence to estimate the effect of gun prevalence on homicide rates. While the best available, our proxy, the ratio of firearms suicides to total suici...
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Importance A foundational issue in firearms policy has been whether the type of weapon used in an assault affects the likelihood of death. Objective To determine whether the likelihood of death from gunshot wounds inflicted in criminal assaults is associated with the power of the assailant’s firearm as indicated by its caliber. Design, Setting, a...
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We contrast the compensation ban on organ donation with the legal treatment of football, boxing, and other violent sports where both acute and chronic injuries to participants are common. Our claim is that there is a stronger case for compensating kidney donors than for compensating participants in violent sports. If this proposition is accepted, o...
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Some law enforcement officials and other observers have asserted that theft is the primary source of guns to crime. In fact, the role of theft in supplying the guns used in robbery, assault, and murder is unknown, and current evidence provides little guidance about whether an effective program to reduce gun theft would reduce gun violence. The curr...
Article
Chapter 10 of The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, titled “Control of Firearms,” is a brief but strong statement in support of regulating gun transactions, possession, and carrying, with several specific recommendations, including the adoption of universal gun registration and permit‐to‐purchase requirements. The U.S. President's Commission on...
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Intimate partner homicide (IPH) is a critical public health and safety issue in the USA. In this study, we determine the prevalence and correlates of perpetrator suicide and additional homicides following intimate partner homicide (IPH) in a large, diverse state with high quality data. We extract IPHs from the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting...
Article
The systematic study of how available weapons influence the rates, patterns, and outcomes of criminal violence is new, but it is now a well-established and fast-growing subfield in criminology, legal studies, public health, and economics. This review focuses on the transactions that arm dangerous offenders, noting that if those transactions could b...
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Ethicists who oppose compensating kidney donors claim they do so because kidney donation is risky for the donor’s health, donors may not appreciate the risks and may be cognitively biased in other ways, and donors may come from disadvantaged groups and thus could be exploited. However, few ethical qualms are raised about professional football playe...
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Prior research and anecdotal evidence from educators suggest that classroom peers play a meaningful role in how students learn. However, the literature has failed to consider the dynamic and context-dependent nature of classroom peer influence. Developmental psychology theories suggest that peer influence will increase and family influence will dec...
Article
Frequent absences in the primary grades are associated with school disengagement, academic failure, and eventual dropout. The Early Truancy Prevention Project (ETPP) was designed to improve attendance of primary-grade children by facilitating communication between teachers and parents and giving the teachers the lead role in intervening with studen...
Article
Objectives: To investigate the validity of the apparent downward trend in the national case-fatality rate for gunshot wounds from assault. Methods: We reanalyzed the estimated annual number of nonfatal firearm injuries the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reported from 2003 to 2012. We adjusted the estimates for discontinuities cre...
Article
Gunfire from assaults, suicides, and unintentional shootings exacts an enormous burden on public health globally. The epidemiologic reviews in this special issue enhance our understanding of various forms of gun violence, inform interventions, and help chart directions for future research. The available science, however, is limited to answer many i...
Article
Dropouts have high crime rates, but is there a direct causal link? This study, utilizing administrative data for six cohorts of public school children in North Carolina, demonstrates that those born just after the cut date for enrolling in public kindergarten are more likely to drop out of high school before graduation and to commit a felony offens...
Article
Gun violence places a lethal toll on public health. This paper focuses on reducing access to firearms by dangerous offenders. The original empirical contribution is to provide new data on the gun transactions that arm offenders in Chicago, with the goal of improving enforcement actions. The data are from an open-ended survey of 99 inmates of Cook C...
Article
In this Article, we seek to help guide law enforcement activities targeting gun acquisition by high-risk people by examining two potentially important sources of crime guns: licensed retail dealers and traffickers. Limited data availability is a key reason more is not currently known about how criminals obtain guns. This Article assembles a unique...
Chapter
The evidence base for the study of guns and violence begins with data on such fundamental issues as the number and distribution of guns, the number of people shot each year in criminal assaults, and the frequency of gun use in self-defense. It seems that these simple descriptive statistics should be readily available, and in fact the rhetoric of th...
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Objectives While the economic model of crime suggests that improving post-prison labor market prospects should reduce recidivism, evaluations of previous employment-oriented re-entry programs have mixed results, possibly due to the multi-faceted challenges facing prisoners at the time of their release. We present an evaluation of an experiment tha...
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Kidneys are unique among the solid organs due to the combination of the low risk of living donation, the feasibility of sustaining life on dialysis for several years following kidney failure, and Medicare coverage of dialysis and transplantation for kidney patients. Despite these advantages, thousands of Americans die each year while waiting for a...
Conference Paper
Nearly every gun used in a crime was legally manufactured and initially sold by a licensed firearm dealer. Yet almost no individuals incarcerated for gun crimes obtained their gun directly from a licensed dealer. Firearm regulations and enforcement strategies are intended to disrupt the distribution chains that supply guns to criminals, but remarka...
Article
In recent decades, explosive growth in the salaries of top earners, combined with income stagnation or decline for most others, has formed a renewed challenge to the claim that a free market serves the public interest. These trends lend new urgency to understanding why some people earn so much more than others and what the consequences of growing i...
Chapter
The economics of crime has been an active field of research for nearly 50 years. Among its contributions to the study of crime and crime control are these: A normative framework for evaluation of criminal justice policies; Use of sophisticated quantitative methods to analyze the causes of crime and the effects of crime-control measures in this fram...
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In this essay I provide an account of how research on gun violence has evolved over the last four decades, intertwined with personal observations and commentary on my contributions. It begins with a sketch of the twentieth century history of gun control in the United States. I then provide an account of why gun violence is worth studying, with a di...
Conference Paper
Given the central role of private individuals and firms in determining the quality and availability of criminal opportunities, and the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, private actions arguably deserve a central role in the analysis of crime and crime prevention policy. But the leading scholarly commentaries on the crime drop during the...
Article
Based on administrative data for five cohorts of public school children in North Carolina, we demonstrate that those born just after the cut date for starting school are likely to outperform those born just before in reading and math in middle school, and are less likely to be involved in juvenile delinquency. On the other hand, those born after th...
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Federal firearms law divides the population into two groups: those prohibited from legally possessing a firearm due to their criminal record or certain other disqualifying conditions and everyone else. The vast majority of the adult public is allowed to acquire and possess all the firearms they want, thus preserving the personal right to "keep and...
Article
The December 2012 tragedy at Newtown may soon settle in the collective memory of senseless rampages by unstable young men. But inthe immediate aftermath, the question of what might have been done to prevent those 28 untimely deaths may galvanize the attention of policymakers desperate to respond. Shall we now hold mental health systems more account...
Article
The last time that federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages were increased was 1991. The changes were larger than the typical state-level changes that have been used to study price effects, but the consequences have not been assessed due to the lack of a control group. Here we develop and implement a novel method for utilizing interstate heterog...
Article
This paper analyses the 13 business cycles since 1933 to provide evidence on the old question of whether recessions cause crime. Using data from the United States, we find that recessions are consistently associated with an uptick in burglary and robbery, and a reduction in theft of motor vehicles. There is no statistical association with homicide....
Conference Paper
This presentation will comment on the foregoing panel presentations in the context of the national gun violence problem and its costs. The presenter will use this panel's topic to draw out larger lessons about the relationship between policy and public health law research; how policy-makers can best use research and also shape research questions; a...
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Objectives Using the case of an on-going work-oriented prisoner-reentry experiment in Milwaukee, describe the challenges of organizing and sustaining a high-quality trial in the field in which only the randomization and data analysis are directly “controlled” by the evaluation team. Methods The case study is of a randomized experiment involving yo...
Article
What have the economists contributed to the study of criminal behavior and crime control? In what follows, to motivate and describe the contributions to this edited volume, we discuss three domains: • A normative framework for evaluating criminal law and crime prevention, and the application of sophisticated quantitative methods to analyze the caus...
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Thousands of Americans are killed by gunfire each year, and hundreds of thousands more are injured or threatened with guns in robberies and assaults. The burden of gun violence in urban areas is particularly high. Critics suggest that the results of firearm trace data and gun trafficking investigation studies cannot be used to understand the illega...
Article
Student misbehavior, which includes school violence and bullying, interfere with academic achievements and is one of the major sources of teacher turnover in American schools. This article shows how schools can be organized and managed in order to minimize and prevent student misbehavior. It identifies the kinds of practices and policies they can a...
Article
Until now researchers have assessed the burden imposed by gunshot injuries and deaths in terms of medical costs and lost productivity. Here, the chapters 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...
Article
The population of South Korea is ageing rapidly and government provision for older people is meagre. Hence the erosion of traditional family support for older people is of much concern. Yet relatively little is known about the actual financial status of elderly Koreans or the amount of economic support they receive from children. This paper address...
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With costs exceeding $5.8 billion per year, violence against women has significant ramifications for victims, their families, the health care systems that treat them, and the employers who depend on their labor. Prior research has found that alcohol abuse contributes to violence against both men and women, and that stringent alcohol control policie...
Article
Private actions to avoid and prevent criminal victimisation and assist public law enforcement are vital inputs into the crime-control process. One form of private action, the business improvement district (BID), appears particularly promising. A BID is a non-profit organisation created by property owners to provide local public goods, usually inclu...
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
The paper analyzes the causal effects of the business cycle on crime. Among the main conclusions are that robbery and burglary are countercyclical, motor vehicle theft is pro-cyclical, and criminal homicide is acyclical. We also analyze suicide patterns, finding that while suicide rates overall are countercyclical, suicide rates by younger teens ar...
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Alcohol use increases women's risk for intimate partner violence and potentially female homicide victimization. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, at least 61% of female homicides are wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers. Because alcohol taxation policies can alter alcohol consumption, these policies may also...
Article
Full-text available
Given the central role of private individuals and firms in determining the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, and the quality and availability of criminal opportunities, private actions arguably deserve a central role in the analysis of crime and crime prevention policy. But the leading scholarly commentaries on the crime drop during the...
Article
Full-text available
Gun violence in North American is the subject of much speculation and debate, often based on limited or incomplete empirical evidence. We summarize the regulatory frameworks in Mexico, the United States and Canada, and provide statistics on gun misuse in these countries. Based on our analysis of publicly available information on sources of crime gu...
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Full-text available
The population of South Korea is ageing rapidly and the threat to elderly well-being from the erosion of traditional family care is of much concern. Yet relatively little is known about the actual financial status of elderly Koreans or the amount of support elderly Koreans receive from their children. This paper addresses these issues using data fr...
Article
School violence, drug use, vandalism, gang activity, bullying, and theft are costly and interfere with academic achievement. In this review, we consider those school characteristics that influence concurrent levels of crime, victimization, violence, and substance use both in and out of schools. We begin with a review of the statistics on crime in s...
Article
What will happen after Heller? We know that the Supreme Court will no longer tolerate comprehensive federal prohibitions on home handgun possession by some class of trustworthy homeowners for the purpose of, and perhaps only at the time of, self-defense. But the judiciary could push further, if nothing else by incorporating Heller's holding into th...
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Despite the long-term decline in the number of death sentences and the lack of executions, the cost of the death penalty in North Carolina remains high. To document this cost, the empirical analysis here focuses on a recent two-year period, comparing actual costs associated with capital proceedings, with likely costs in the absence of the death pen...
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Crime control deserves priority in urban policymaking. High crime rates are a drag on community development and a great burden on households that cannot afford to relo­ cate. Successful control of theft, vandalism, public disorder (often associated with drug selling), and especially violence set the stage for increasing property values, investment,...