Is There a Relationship between Guns and Freedom? Comparative Results from 59 Nations:

The near-final version of this forthcoming article from the Texas Review of Law & Politics is now available on SSRN. I wrote the article with Carl Moody and Howard Nemerov. Here's the abstract:

There are 59 nations for which data about per capita gun ownership are available. This Article examines the relationship between gun density and several measures of freedom and prosperity: the Freedom House ratings of political rights and civil liberty, the Transparency International Perceived Corruption Index, the World Bank Purchasing Power Parity ratings, and the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom. The data suggest that the relationships between gun ownership rates and these other measures are complex. The data show that (although exceptions can be found) the nations with the highest rates of gun ownership tend to have greater political and civil freedom, greater economic freedom and prosperity, and much less corruption than other nations. The relationship only exists for high-ownership countries. Countries with medium rates of gun density generally scored no better or worse than countries with the lowest levels of per capita gun ownership.

I blogged on VC about an earlier draft of this paper last spring. As is usually the case, VC commenters offered a variety of useful comments, which made the final paper better.