John Pepper

Department of Economics
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Virginia

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2015How Do Right-To-Carry Laws Affect Crime Rates? Coping With Ambiguity Using Bounded-Variation Assumptions
with Charles F. Manski: w21701
Despite dozens of studies, research on crime in the United States has struggled to reach consensus about the impact of right-to-carry (RTC) gun laws. Empirical results are highly sensitive to seemingly minor variations in the data and model. How then should research proceed? We think that policy analysis is most useful if researchers perform inference under a spectrum of assumptions of varying identifying power, recognizing the tension between the strength of assumptions and their credibility. With this in mind, we formalize and apply a class of assumptions that flexibly restrict the degree to which policy outcomes may vary across time and space. Our bounded variation assumptions weaken in various respects the invariance assumptions commonly made by researchers who assume that certain fea...

forthcoming in Review of Economic and Statistics citation courtesy of

September 2011Deterrence and the Death Penalty: Partial Identification Analysis Using Repeated Cross Sections
with Charles F. Manski: w17455
Researchers have long used repeated cross sectional observations of homicide rates and sanctions to examine the deterrent effect of the adoption and implementation of death penalty statutes. The empirical literature, however, has failed to achieve consensus. A fundamental problem is that the outcomes of counterfactual policies are not observable. Hence, the data alone cannot identify the deterrent effect of capital punishment. How then should research proceed? It is tempting to impose assumptions strong enough to yield a definitive finding, but strong assumptions may be inaccurate and yield flawed conclusions. Instead, we study the identifying power of relatively weak assumptions restricting variation in treatment response across places and time. The results are findings of partial i...

Published: “Deterrence and the Death Penalty: Partial Identification Analysis Using Repeated Cross Sections,” with J. Pepper, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 29, 2013, No. 1, pp. 123-141.

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us