Surviving a Mass Shooting
We use data on all middle and high school-aged children who survived a mass shooting incident on July 22, 2011 in Utøya, Norway, to understand how such events affect survivors, their families, and their peers. Using a difference-in-differences design to compare survivors to a matched control group, we find that in the short run children who survive have substantially lower GPA (nearly 0.5 SD), increased health visits, and more mental health diagnoses (nearly 400% increase). In the medium run, survivors have fewer years of schooling completed and lower labor force participation. Parents and siblings of survivors are also impacted, experiencing substantial increases in doctor visits and mental health diagnoses. However, there appear to be limited impacts on school-aged peers of survivors. While this event affected the entire country, we show that survivors and their families bear significant costs despite robust social safety nets and universal access to healthcare.
This research was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant through the project “Criminality, Victimization and Social Interactions” (CIVICS). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.