Illicit Small Arms Prices: Introducing Two New Datasets


Despite calls to reduce illicit arms flows, it remains difficult to detect and quantify them. One
proposed method for detecting and quantifying illicit trade volumes is to test econometrically for
price changes. This paper documents an effort of the Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms
Transfers (NISAT) and the Small Arms Data Observatory (SADO) to make such inferential
econometric analyses possible by assembling two new datasets on illicit small arms prices. The
first, called the illicit small arms trafficking transactions dataset (iSAT-T), has an observational
unit of arm(s) sold in a single transaction. The second, called the illicit small arms trafficking
country dataset (or iSAT-C), derives from the iSAT-T and has the more standard country-year
observational unit. This paper describes the methods for data collection, organization, and
generation for these datasets, presents some descriptive statistics and graphics, and concludes
with a discussion of possible future uses and limitations of the datasets.


Peace Research Institute Oslo

Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego

Additional files:
SADO-WPS_201701_02_iSAP-T-Codebook (transactions dataset codebook)
SADO-WPS_201701_02_iSAP-T (CVS) (transactions dataset, CVS format [14 mb])
SADO-WPS_201701_02_iSAP-T (STATA/.dta) (transactions dataset, DTA format [1 mb])

SADO-WPS_201701_03_iSAP-C-Codebook (country-year dataset codebook)
SADO-WPS_201701_02_iSAP-C (CVS) (country-year dataset, CVS format [3 mb])
SADO-WPS_201701_02_iSAP-C (STATA/.dta) (country-year dataset, DTAformat [1 mb])

SADO-WPS_201701-01_iSAP-datasets (working paper, PDF [1 mb])

The T-Rex in the Room: Using Network Analysis to Get a Better Grasp of Small Arms Issues


The international small arms and light weapons (SALW) trade is a pervasive, lucrative, poorly regulated and poorly understood network of global business with subtle yet far-reaching consequences on the state of world affairs. While much has been written on the topic of the legal and illegal international SALW trade and its consequences, little has been done to try to understand the extremely complex and nuanced network of the trade as a whole. This report, aimed at addressing this issue, will (1) provide a literature review on SALW nonproliferation and social network analysis for context, (2) posit the case for the usefulness of social network analysis as an innovative descriptive and inferential tool in analyzing international SALW networks and nonproliferation efforts, (3) present a description of the data to be utilized in the study, (4) report the findings of the study, (5) provide a contextual analysis of the findings, and (6) conclude. The study finds (a) a group of seven significant nations beyond simply measuring for sheer bulk of export and import; (b) a K-Core defined subgroup network of 49 most significant global traders; (c) a group of three nations significant by sheer import and export, but not in being networked in the K-Core subgroup; (d) a considerable overlap between the K-Core subgroup network and participating states of the Wassenaar Arrangement; (e) a minority of 14 K-Core subgroup nations that are not participating states of the Wassenaar Arrangement. It finds that adherence to international treaties for specific international SALW regulation is correlated to an increased net value of legal SALW trade and that membership in an multilateral export control regime is correlated to a decreased net value of legal SALW trade.


Monterey Institute of International Studies


Elusive Facts About Gun Violence: Where Good Surveys Go Bad


The evidence base for the study of guns and violence begins with data on such fundamental issues as the number and distribution of guns, the number of people shot each year in criminal assaults, and the frequency of gun use in self-defense. It seems that these simple descriptive statistics should be readily available, and in fact the rhetoric of the debate over gun control in the United States routinely includes reference to 300 million guns, or 100,000 people who are shot each year, or 2.5 million defensive gun uses. But it turns out that such statistics should be viewed with considerable skepticism. Developing reliable estimates of basic facts in this arena is surprisingly difficult, even with the best of intentions. Even surveys that meet the highest standards of current practice may produce heavily biased estimates. The results discussed here should encourage skepticism and engender what might be called “plausibility tests” – common-sense comparisons of the resulting estimates with other sources of information. Too often the review of scientific contributions is like appellate review of a criminal conviction – the court focuses on just the process rather than the outcome. For policy-relevant work it is important to test the conclusions against what else we know about the reality of the situation.

Duke University
Sanford School of Public Policy

University of Chicago


Do U.S. State Firearms Laws Affect Firearms Manufacturing Location?


In addition to federal firearms legislation applicable to all firearms manufacturers operating in
the United States, each of the 50 U.S. states has its own state, and sometimes additional
municipal, firearms laws. Conceivably, the relative strictness or laxity of these laws influences
location decisions by firearms manufacturers. We use diverse data sets covering the period 1986
to 2010 to exploit variations in state firearms laws to study the manufacturing location of well
over 2,700 federally licensed firearms manufacturers. We find that state laws do matter for
location but so do other variables. In a way, our findings are reassuring. The firearm industry is
“just another industry” in that it responds to economic incentives and disincentives, of which
relevant state laws are an example: They play but an incremental role at the decision-making



Hull College of Business, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA, USA and EBA Program,
Department of Economics, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Corresponding author

Faculty of Economics and Business and Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB), University of
Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Faculty of Economics and Business and Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB), University of
Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

SADO _WPS_Brauer-Montolio-Trujillo