From Health Affairs: Financial consequences of firearm fatalities in OECD countries

November 02, 2020

Firearm-related fatalities are a global public health issue. However, few data exist about the macroeconomic effect of firearm-related fatalities. To gain a better understanding of this issue, Alexander W. Peters from NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and coauthors estimate the macroeconomic consequences of firearm-related fatalities in each of the thirty-six Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The authors estimate cumulative losses of $239.0 billion in economic output from 2018 to 2030, with $152.5 billion attributable to the US alone, meaning that losses in the US exceed the combined losses of all other OECD countries. The authors found that the highest relative losses will occur in Mexico and the US; the lowest will occur in Japan. Across the OECD, they found that 48.5 percent of economic losses will be attributable to physical violence, 47.0 percent to self-harm, and 4.6 to unintentional injury. They conclude by noting that reducing firearm-related fatalities is not only a humanitarian imperative, but also an economic one.
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Health Affairs is the leading peer-reviewed journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published monthly by Project HOPE, the journal is available in print and online. Late-breaking content is also found through healthaffairs.org, Health Affairs Today, and Health Affairs Sunday Update.

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