Someone edited John Lott’s wikipedia entry to state that he left AEI in 2006. Sure enough, he is no longer included on the AEI’s list of scholars and fellows. The person who made the edit was anonymous, but the IP address tracks to Washington DC.
I doubt they actually fired him, since AEI never showed any earlier concern about his questionable scholarship. I wonder why he left. To spend more time with his sock puppets?
Maybe everyone already knows this, but it was on an inside page of the metro section of the Chicago Tribune today, so maybe the news isn’t really out yet:
A scholar known for his work on guns and crime filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, co-author of the best-seller “Freakonomics.” John Lott Jr. of Virginia, a former U. of C. visiting professor, alleges that Levitt defamed him in the book by claiming that other scholars had tried and failed to confirm Lott’s conclusion that allowing people to carry concealed weapons reduces crime. Publishers Weekly ranked “Freakonomics” eighth this week for non-fiction hardcover books. According to Levitt’s book: “When other scholars have tried to replicate [Lott’s] results, they found that right-to-carry laws simply don’t bring down crime.”
But according to Lott’s lawsuit: “In fact, every time that an economist or other researcher has replicated Lott’s research, he or she has confirmed Lott’s conclusion.” By suggesting that Lott’s results could not be replicated, Levitt is “alleging that Lott falsified his results,” the lawsuit says. Lott is seeking a court order to block further sales of “Freakonomics” until the offending statements are retracted and changed. He is also seeking unspecified money damages. Lott acknowledged in the suit that some scholars have disagreed with his conclusions. But he said those researchers used “different data or methods to analyze the relationship between gun-control laws and crime” and made no attempt to “replicate” Lott’s work.
Just Visiting: Wow, just wow. Lott’s gone mad.
Here is the Chicago Tribune story.
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Let’s skip straight to January.