Understanding the effects of violent video games on violent crime

Research, Preprint English OPEN
Cunningham, A. Scott ; Engelstätter, Benjamin ; Ward, Michael R. (2011)
  • Publisher: Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW) Mannheim
  • Subject: Video Games,Violence,Crime | Crime | L86 | 300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie | D0 | K14 | Video Games | Violence
    • jel: jel:D0 | jel:L86 | jel:K14
      ddc: ddc:330

Psychological studies invariably find a positive relationship between violent video game play and aggression. However, these studies cannot account for either aggressive effects of alternative activities video game playing substitutes for or the possible selection of relatively violent people into playing violent video games. That is, they lack external validity. We investigate the relationship between the prevalence of violent video games and violent crimes. Our results are consistent with two opposing effects. First, they support the behavioral effects as in the psychological studies. Second, they suggest a larger voluntary incapacitation effect in which playing either violent or non-violent games decrease crimes. Overall, violent video games lead to decreases in violent crime.
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