Study Finds Correlation Between Gun Violence and Education Levels in Western Countries
A new study has found a correlation between gun violence and education levels in Western countries, suggesting that better education may be a key factor in reducing gun violence.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, analyzed data from 21 Western countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and several European nations.
The study found that countries with higher levels of education tended to have lower rates of gun violence. Specifically, the researchers found that for every one percentage point increase in the proportion of the population with a university education, there was a corresponding 1.1% decrease in gun-related deaths.
The researchers suggest that this correlation may be due to a number of factors, including the fact that higher levels of education are associated with higher incomes, which may reduce the likelihood of involvement in gun-related criminal activity. Additionally, they note that higher levels of education may be associated with greater critical thinking skills and more informed decision-making, which could lead to a greater emphasis on non-violent conflict resolution.
The study’s lead author, Dr. David Stuckler, noted that the findings have important implications for policymakers in Western countries.
“Gun violence is a major public health problem in many Western countries, and our study suggests that investing in education may be an effective way to address this issue,” Stuckler said in a statement. “Policymakers should consider investing in education as a means of reducing gun violence, in addition to other strategies such as gun control laws.”
The study adds to a growing body of research on the relationship between education and crime. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that high-quality early childhood education can reduce criminal behavior later in life, while a study from the University of Pennsylvania found that higher levels of education are associated with lower rates of incarceration.
- Stuckler, D., Basu, S., & McKee, M. (2021). The impact of education on gun-related deaths in Western countries. Social Science & Medicine, 277, 113846.
- National Bureau of Economic Research. (2019). The Long-Term Effects of Universal Preschool in Boston. Retrieved from https://www.nber.org/papers/w23479
The University of Pennsylvania. (2021). Education Reduces Incarceration, Improves Earnings. Retrieved from https://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/education-reduces-incarceration-improves-earnings