Sunday, 17 August 2014

Books on the firm

When thinking about the history of the theory of the firm, as we all do early on a Sunday morning, I've been thinking about which books are really important to the subject and thus are actually worth reading. Many of the major contributions to the theory of the firm have come in the form of journal articles. Economists are not big on writing books.

But what books are worth reading to get an understanding of the contemporary (post-1970) mainstream theory of the firm? Well here's my list.

Two books which contain the classics on which most of the contemporary theories are based are:
  1. Knight, Frank H. (1921). Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. This is a book that is getting an increasing amount of attention. Albeit very late in the piece
  2. Oliver E. Williamson and Sidney G. Winter (eds.) (1993). The Nature of the Firm: Origins, Evolution, and Development, New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press. This includes a reprint of Coase's 1937 classic "The Nature of the Firm". It also includes reprints of Coase's three essays on the Origin, Meaning and Influence of his 1937 paper as well as his Noble Lecture: "The Institutional Structure of Production".
When it comes to the important books that the classics gave rise to, there are a few. An obvious place to start is with three books by Oliver Williamson. These develop the transaction cost approach to the firm:
  1. Williamson, Oliver E. (1975). Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications, New York: The Free Press.
  2. Williamson, Oliver E. (1985). The Economic Institutions of Capitalism, New York: The Free Press.
  3. Williamson, Oliver E. (1996). The Mechanisms of Governance, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
To cover the property rights approach to the firm there is:
  1. Hart, Oliver D. (1995). Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
As to the reasons for, and the shortcomings of, different forms of ownership of firms see Henry Hansmann's book:
  1. Hansmann, Henry (1996). The Ownership of Enterprise, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
A number of interesting essays appear in this book by Harold Demsetz:
  1. Demsetz, Harold (1995). The Economics of the Business Firm: Seven Critical Commentaries, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Two recent books that may have influence in the future due to their integration of the theory of the entrepreneur with the theory of the firm are:
  1. Spulber, Daniel F. (2009). The Theory of the Firm: Microeconomics with Endogenous Entrepreneurs, Firms, Markets, and Organizations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Foss, Nicolai J. and Peter G. Klein (2012). Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
I'm sure there are a few others I have missed.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Payday lending

Payday lending is controversial all around the world including New Zealand. But the quality of debate on the issue often isn't that high. At the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog philosopher Matt Zwolinski improves things by noting 5 Points about the Morality of Payday Lending:
Here are five of the most important points I’ve found to bear in mind when thinking about the morality of payday loans.
  1. If payday lending is so profitable, why isn’t everybody doing it? This is a good question to ask yourself anytime you hear a story about some company earning unusually high profits off the back of a vulnerable population. If investors could earn a 200% rate of return by investing in new payday lending operations, why are smart investors wasting their time and money with anything else? Perhaps there’s something more to the picture that we’re not seeing?
  2. Payday lending is not that profitable. Well, we don’t have to guess. People have studied this. And according to one study, the average profit earned by payday lenders was just 7.63%. By way of comparison, the same study reports that the average Starbucks franchise earns about 9% profit. So, if that 400% APR isn’t translating into sky-high profits for payday lenders, where exactly is it going?
  3. Payday loans are short term loans. An Uber ride from downtown San Diego to La Jolla costs about $25. I think that’s a pretty reasonable price. But suppose I told you that the rate Uber charges to drive you 12.5 miles in San Diego would translate into a $6,000 trip from San Diego to Boston! Outrageous! Exploitative! Except, nobody uses Uber that way. And almost nobody uses payday lenders to take out loans that are appropriately characterized by an annual percentage rate. Payday loans are short term loans. They’re like an Uber ride to your local pub. Thinking about their fees in the same terms you’d use to think about the 30 year mortgage on your home gives us a very misleading picture of how much revenue payday lenders are bringing in.
  4. Being a payday lender is expensive. So payday lenders aren’t earning as much as we think. But they’re also spending a lot more than we think. Payday lenders, unlike banks, keep long hours. That costs money. They also have a relatively high store density. That costs money, too. Finally, think about this. Payday lenders are lending to people who have a hard time getting credit elsewhere. Why do they have a hard time getting credit elsewhere? Because they have very bad credit. What does that mean for payday lenders? It means that sizeable portion of the loans they extend are going to default. And that costs money.
  5. Bans on “usury” only make things worse. So, at the end of the day, payday lenders charge a high rate to their customers because that’s what it takes to cover their costs. That means if we try to artificially lower their rates by legal bans on “usury,” we’re going to make it impossible for them to cover their costs. And when businesses can’t cover their costs, they shut down. Question: who does that help? The who were forced by poverty and desperate circumstances to utilize the services of payday lenders are still poor, and still desperate. All you’ve done is taken away from them the least bad option they had. It’s a good thing to be concerned with the plight of the poor. It’s a good thing to want to do something to help. But it’s important to make sure that the thing you’re doing actually helps, rather than hurts.

Are foreign takeovers getting domestic cherries or lemons?

The concerns of economic nationalists - read NZ First, the Conservatives, Labour etc in the case of New Zealand - about foreign takeovers of assets, including land, are rooted in the idea that foreign enterprises extract the most valuable assets from top performing domestic firms. This argument puts to one-side for now the ever present xenophobia which underlies much of the anti-foreign investment rhetoric in New Zealand. Practical concerns about economic efficiency of cross-border mergers and acquisitions markets hinge on whether takeovers transfer underperforming domestic economic resources toward more productive uses at foreign enterprises. How then to reconcile these concerns when forming policies about cross-border activity? Well in a new column at Farid Toubal , Bruce Blonigen, Lionel Fontagné and Nicholas Sly argue it’s all in the timing.

One of the big questions about foreign investment is are the foreign firms picking cherries or choosing lemons?
For many years the evidence about targets of foreign acquisitions has been mixed. Some theories and data suggest that ‘lemons’ – domestic firms with relatively weak performance – are the most likely targets of foreign acquisition. Yet more recent empirical studies have pointed to ‘cherries’ as the most likely targets for takeover by foreign firms. The disagreement about which type of domestic firms – cherries or lemons – are pursued by foreign enterprises made it difficult to answer policy makers’ question about which of their assets, economic networks, and production possibilities were suddenly in the hands of foreign ownership.

The doubt over which types of firms were being acquired also raises concerns about the efficiency of international merger and acquisition (M&A) markets. Ideally, market transactions should transfer resources toward their most efficient use. The same holds for M&A markets, which should transfer the assets of lesser performing firms to enterprises that can make better use of them. If domestic firms are high performing cherries, it is not evident that a transfer of ownership of their resources to a foreign enterprise is optimal; being a cherry implies that a domestic firm is already using its resources effectively. Poor performing lemons might seem to fit the bill. Yet the question remains open as to why a foreign enterprise would choose to enter a market using resources that even a domestic firm – which had more familiarity with resident consumers, regulations, and distribution networks – could not use profitably.
Blonigen, Fontagne, Sly, and Toubal argue its all in the timing.
In Blonigen, Fontagne, Sly, and Toubal (2014), we show that the conundrum over whether domestic cherries or lemons are targets of acquisition can be resolved by considering not only the types of assets that foreign acquirers seek, but also the timing of takeovers. Indeed, foreign firms seek domestic targets that are historically high performing. In fact, when we look at foreign acquisitions that occur in the French manufacturing sector over the last decade, we find that even the least productive domestic target outperforms the typical firm in its sector in the years prior to acquisition. See Figure 1 below, which takes advantage of detailed administrative data from France to illustrate systematic changes in firm characteristics as they transition from domestic to multinational status. We plot total factor productivity (TFP) for all manufacturing firms that are acquired by foreign owners between 1999 and 2006 relative to sector and year averages, from three years prior to the acquisition to four years after the firm is acquired. The middle line shows the relative detrended TFP for the average French firm acquired by a foreign owner, whereas the lines above and below show the relative detrended TFP for the 95th and 5th percentiles, respectively. In the years prior to acquisition, domestic targets of foreign acquisition do appear to be ‘cherries.’ They have all a TFP that is above industry-year average.

Figure 1.

Yet despite the high performance of target firms observed several years prior to acquisition, Figure 1 shows that, prior to acquisition, targets realize significant productivity losses relative to other firms in their sector. The losses in productivity are so severe that by the time they are acquired, targets of foreign acquisition no longer appear to be cherries; on average they are indistinguishable from the typical firm from their sector. Put differently, in the years leading up to acquisition domestic targets are underperforming relative other firms in their industry. In these years, targets do look like ‘lemons.’

Rather than targets of foreign acquisition being characterized purely as top performers or underperformers in the market place, foreign enterprises seek out domestic firms that were previously the stars of their industries but then suffered a recent series of negative shocks. Hence, the targets of foreign takeovers are ‘Cherries for Sale.’

This timing of cross-border acquisition activity is quite intuitive. Foreign enterprises seek out targets that have the best and most valuable assets. And not surprisingly, it is the most productive target firms that had the largest incentives to invest in developing such assets. However, foreign enterprises can only offer viable takeover bids once the domestic firm has suffered a turn in fate, and is underutilizing it valuable assets. In this case it is better for the domestic firm to sell its assets to a foreign acquirer that can make better use of them.
So what is the upshot of all of this?
This timing of takeover activity implies that policy makers should have fewer concerns about relinquishing national ownership of its domestic enterprises, as the ‘Cherries for Sale’ are no longer the best and most valuable economic agents within their economic sectors. The observed timing of takeover activity also suggests the efficiency of cross-border M&A markets. Cross-border acquisitions appear to transfer productive assets, technologies, and distribution networks toward enterprises that can make better use of these valuable resources.
So foreign ownership may be good for you after all. The assets being bought by the foreign companies are those not preforming well under their current owners and the foreign owners can make better use of those assets. This is a gain for the local economy.

  • Blonigen, B A, L Fontagne, N Sly, and F Toubal, “Cherries for Sale: The Incidence and Timing of Cross-Border M&A”, Journal of International Economics, 2014, forthcoming.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Is the division of labour a form of enslavement?

Or so asks Timothy Taylor at the Conversable Economist blog. Taylor writes,
The idea that an economy functions through a division of labor, in which we each focus and specialize in certain tasks and then participate in a market to obtain the goods and services we want to consume, is fundamental to economic analysis. Indeed, the very first chapter of Adam Smith's 1776 classic The Wealth of Nations is titled "Of the Division of Labor," and offers the famous example of how dividing up the tasks involved in making a pin is what makes a pin factory so much more productive than an individual who is making pins.
While Smith opens "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations" with a discussion of the division of labour at the microeconomic (pin factory) level he quickly moves the analysis to the market level. When discussing Smith’s approach to the division of labour McNulty (1984: 237-8) comments,
“[h]aving conceptualized division of labor in terms of the organization of work within the enterprise, however, Smith subsequently failed to develop or even to pursue systematically that line of analysis. His ideas on the division of labor could, for example, have led him toward an analysis of task assignment, management, or organization. Such an intra-firm approach would have foreshadowed the much later−indeed, quite recent−efforts in this direction by Herbert Simon, Oliver Williamson, Harvey Leibenstein, and others, a body of work which Leibenstein calls “micromicroeconomics”. [ ...] But, instead, Smith quickly turned his attention away from the internal organization of the enterprise, and outward toward the market and the realm of exchange, perhaps because he found therein both the source of division of labor, in the “propensity in human nature truck, barter and exchange” and its effective limits”.
Taylor then moves on to point out that Karl Marx saw a downside to the division of labour.
But what if the division of labor, with its emphasis on focusing on a particular narrow job, runs fundamentally counter to something in the human spirit? Karl Marx raised this possibility in The German Ideology (1846 Section 1, "Idealism and Materialism," subsection on "Private Property and Communism"). Marx wrote:
“Further, the division of labor implies the contradiction between the interest of the separate individual or the individual family and the communal interest of all individuals who have intercourse with one another. … The division of labor offers us the first example of how, as long as man remains in natural society, that is, as long as a cleavage exists between the particular and the common interest, as long, therefore, as activity is not voluntarily, but naturally, divided, man's own deed becomes an alien power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him. For as soon as the distribution of labor comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticism after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter fisherman, shepherd or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now.
But Marx was not alone in seeing a bad side to the division of labour. Smith himself wrote,
In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labour, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations, frequently to one or two. But the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life. Of the great and extensive interests of his country he is altogether incapable of judging, and unless very particular pains have been taken to render him otherwise, he is equally incapable of defending his country in war. The uniformity of his stationary life naturally corrupts the courage of his mind, and makes him regard with abhorrence the irregular, uncertain, and adventurous life of a soldier. It corrupts even the activity of his body, and renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigour and perseverance in any other employment than that to which he has been bred. His dexterity at his own particular trade seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the expence of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it.
So, like all of economics we see here that there is a trade-off involved with the division of labour. In this case it is between the effects of the division of labour on the worker who can become trapped in the grip of the mind numbing tedium of specialisation versus the real income increasing effects of the division of labour.

And even if we accept that the division of labour can create problems, a world without it - ie a world with total self-sufficiency - would create its own set of problems, which I would argue would be worse. So being a "slave" to specialisation is better than being a "slave" to self-sufficiency.

  • McNulty, Paul J. (1984). ‘On the Nature and Theory of Economic Organization: the Role of the Firm Reconsidered’, History of Political Economy, 16(2) Summer: 233-53.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Interesting blog bits

  1. Timothy Taylor on Characteristics of U.S. Minimum Wage Workers
    Set aside for a few heartbeats the vexed question of just how a minimum wage would affect employment, and focus on a more basic set of facts: What are some characteristics of U.S. workers who receive the minimum wage? The statistics here are from a short March 2014 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2013." Of course, the facts about who is receiving the minimum wage also reveal who will be most directly affected by any changes.
  2. Chris Dillow on Economists and the Public
    In a comment here, I propose the creation of a new job, or jobs - professors for the public understanding of economics, analogous to the professorships at Bristol and Oxford which do the same for science.
  3. Ben Jones asks Should Philosophers Avoid Politics?
    In a recent blog post and article, Bas van der Vossen makes a straightforward argument for why political philosophers should stay out of politics: (1) professionals have a prima facie moral duty to make a reasonable effort to avoid activities that predictably make them worse at their tasks (the principle of “responsible professionalism” or RP), (2) the task of political philosophers is to seek the truth about politics, (3) engaging in politics predictably makes us worse at seeking the truth about politics, and (4) therefore political philosophers have a prima facie moral duty to avoid engaging in politics.
  4. Kristian Niemietz argues that Brick shortages come and go. Planning restrictions are the real obstacle to house building
    An unexpected increase in construction (from an extremely low base) has left building materials, especially bricks, in short supply, leading to a sudden surge in prices. Anti-development activists are having a field day, because this turn of events has provided them with a convenient excuse to explain away the negative effects of their obstructionism. A shortage of bricks, not Nimbyism, is causing the housing crisis, or so we are told.
  5. Peter Klein on Making Money from Behavioral Social Science?
    Longtime readers of this blog expect skepticism about behavioral social science. One of my issues is the assumed, but unexplored, assumption that private actors and market institutions cannot deal with behavioral anomalies, and therefore government intervention is necessary to make people act “rationally.”
  6. Tim Worstall argues The NY Times Is Wrong; There Is No Case For High-Speed Rail
    I always find it slightly odd that left liberals are so in love with a 19th century technology such as the railroads. They’re most certainly not in favour of 19th century science nor moral attitudes so what is it about rail that so excites them? But other than that mystification they’ve missed a very important point. There simply is no case for high-speed rail in the US.
  7. Kaoru Hosono and Daisuke Miyakawa on Natural disasters, firm activity, and damage to banks
    Natural disasters affect firm activities both directly and indirectly. One prominent indirect effect is on firms’ transaction partners, in particular – their banks. This column shows how damage to banks affects firm activities, such as capital investment and exports, using as a natural experiment Japan’s 1995 Kobe earthquake. Bank damage has a significant and negative impact on both firm investment and on exports but this effect does not last very long.
  8. Joseph E. Aldy and Seamus J. Smyth on Heterogeneity in the value of life
    Increasing longevity yields large economic benefits. However, public policies do not take into account the heterogeneity in these benefits across the population. This column presents simulated experimental findings about the heterogeneity in the value of statistical life. There is heterogeneity over the life-cycle, as well as prominent ‘black-white’ and ‘female-male’ gaps in the value of life, driven by differences in the labour income across these groups. The findings suggest that one-size-fits-all policies would not correctly reflect the individual willingness to pay to reduce mortality risk.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

EconTalk this week

Barry Weingast, professor of political science at Stanford University and senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of law. Weingast takes issue with some of the standard views of law, and proposes a better way to understand law. The two discuss the fundamental principles of law, how it can emerge in a decentralized way to resolve disputes over property and other commercial and social interactions. Examples include Iceland, Ancient Greece, and California during the gold rush. Also considered are how laws coordinate expectations and the way that social pressure can be used to enforce law in a decentralized fashion.

A direct link to the audio is available here.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The damage done by subsidies

From the Economist magazine comes this piece on China'a subsidies to ship building. In 2006 China enacted a “Long and Medium-Term Plan” [read subsidies to shipyards] to enlarge its shipping industry by 2015.
Yet economists’ views on subsidies have hardened over time. China’s policy provides subsidies both for the construction of ships themselves and for the building or expansion of shipyards. These interferences can distort trade, resulting in inefficient production. In deciding whether a subsidy flouts trade rules the World Trade Organisation (WTO) uses a “price gap” approach. The idea is simple: if a country is producing and selling something at a big discount to what others are charging, there is probably something fishy going on.

Price gaps provide a quick warning system, but are a poor way to judge the full extent of subsidies, according to a 2013 book by Usha and George Haley, of West Virginia University and the University of New Haven. It is a static approach, ignoring how demand for each shipyard’s differentiated products varies over time. It also fails to account for variations in efficiency. Whereas Chinese workers may be relatively cheap, large South Korean or Japanese shipyards exploit economies of scale that smaller Chinese yards cannot. The balance of all these factors, in addition to subsidies, should influence a shipyard’s costs and prices.

Recognising this, a 2014 working paper by Myrto Kalouptsidi of Princeton University provides a new way to spot subsidies and measure their impact. Using detailed quarterly data on factors like a shipyard’s age, size, capacity and staffing levels Ms Kalouptsidi estimates cost functions—the relationship between a yard’s output and its cost of production—for 192 yards across China, Japan, South Korea and Europe. By analysing data between 2001 and 2012, she can isolate the impact of China’s 2006 policy.

The results are striking. A simple price-gap approach shows that Chinese ships cost 7.3% less than rivals’. Controlling for quality differences—Chinese ships are seen as lower quality and so should be around 3.5% cheaper, even in the absence of subsidies—gives a 4% gap, hardly justification for WTO rage. But Ms Kalouptsidi’s estimates show this is just part of the story. Government help artificially lowered Chinese firms’ costs by between 15-20%. The aid will have included explicit subsidies and hidden benefits, such as tolerating losses at state-owned yards. China’s market share jumped as the policy was introduced.

As in [Adam] Smith’s day, this has shifted resources. By comparing the costs and productivity of the shipyards in her sample, Ms Kalouptsidi forecasts how the market might have developed in the absence of China’s subsidies. Her analysis points to a big resource reallocation: absent the meddling, Japan’s market share would have been around 30 percentage points higher. Since many South Korean or Japanese yards are more efficient than China’s, it means that the true cost of ship production may well have risen. Bloated by subsidy, China’s yards have turned out a surfeit of vessels, often poorly matched to customers’ demands.
The important point here is that many of the distortions introduced by government meddling are hard to find but dangerous and expensive nonetheless.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Guns, suicide, crime

It would seem obvious that if you have fewer guns in people's hands you would get fewer suicides and less crime. But is life that simple? After reading a couple of article by Mark Gius, Professor of Economics at Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, USA, I'm beginning to think not. In a recent article in "Significance: statistics making sense", a magazine from The Royal Statistical Society, Gius writes, with regard to gun-related murder rates in the US,
In one of the more recent studies [Gius (2014)], I attempted to determine if assault weapons bans and concealed carry laws had any effects on gun-related murder rates. I decided to focus on these two types of laws because they have changed the most over the past thirty years. I used data for the period 1980–2009, which is one of the longest time periods examined in any research on assault weapons bans or CCW laws. Using the gun-related murder rate as the dependent variable was important because most other studies looked at violent crime rates or homicide rates. Violent crime rate data is not disaggregated into gun-related and non-gun-related violent crime, and homicides include justifiable killings and state-sanctioned killings; hence, an analysis using these types of crime rates may result in spurious conclusions. After analysing the data, I found that states that had more restrictive CCW laws had higher murder rates than states with more permissive CCW laws and that assault weapons bans had no significant effects on murder rates at the state level.

The lack of an affect on the part of state level assault weapons bans was not unexpected: as mentioned previously, very few murders are committed using assault weapons. The higher murder rates during the federal assault weapons ban probably reflected the inadequacy of the federal law and the overall higher crimes rates of that period due to the crack epidemic of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The concealed carry results, however, were somewhat unexpected. States with more restrictive CCW laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10% higher (p < 0.01). At first sight this would seem to support the deterrent effect hypothesis of many gun rights proponents. There may, of course, be other explanations for these results. Laws may be ineffective due to loopholes and exemptions. The most violent states may also have the toughest gun control measures. Nonetheless, the results of my study do suggest that the potential deterrent effect of concealed weapons should not be ignored.
In another paper, Gius (2011), Gius has also looked at the relationship between gun ownership and suicides. Using recent data on suicide rates, gun control measures, and gun ownership rates, Gius's study suggests that states that require handgun permits have lower gun-related suicide rates, and states that have higher gun ownership rates have higher gun-related suicide rates. Which is what you may expect. Regarding non-gun suicides, results suggest that stricter gun control laws may result in higher non-firearm suicides, and higher rates of gun ownership result in lower non-gun suicide rates. These results suggest that stricter gun control laws may actually induce potential suicide victims to alter the method by which they commit suicide. That is, there is substitution effect. Hence, the overall effects of firearm availability on suicides may be muted due to the fact that while reduced firearm availability reduces firearm suicides, it also increases non-firearm suicides.

  • Gius, M. (2014) "An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates". Applied Economics Letters, 21(4), 265–267.
  • Gius, M. (2011) "The Effects of Gun Ownership Rates and Gun Control Laws on Suicide Rates". New York Economic Review, vol. 42, Fall