Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime

47 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2011

See all articles by Scott Cunningham

Scott Cunningham

Baylor University

Benjamin Engelstätter

University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt; ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Information and Communication Technologies Research Group

Michael R. Ward

University of Texas at Arlington - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics; ZEW, Mannheim

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Psychological studies invariably find a positive relationship between 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.

Keywords: Video Games, Violence, Crime

JEL Classification: D08, K14, L86

Suggested Citation

Cunningham, Scott and Engelstätter, Benjamin and Ward, Michael Robert, Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime (2011). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 11-042. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1886419 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1886419

Scott Cunningham

Baylor University ( email )

One Bear Place #98003
Waco, TX 76798
United States
254-710-4753 (Phone)
254-710-6142 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.scunning.com

Benjamin Engelstätter (Contact Author)

University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt ( email )

Max-Planc-Str.
Dieburg, 64807
Germany

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Information and Communication Technologies Research Group ( email )

L7, 1
D-68034 Mannheim
Germany
+496211235134 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.zew.de/en/mitarbeiter/mitarbeiter.php3?action=mita&kurz=ben

Michael Robert Ward

University of Texas at Arlington - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

330 Business Building
Box 19479
Arlington, TX 76019
United States
817-272-3090 (Phone)
817-272-3145 (Fax)

ZEW, Mannheim ( email )

D-68034 Mannheim
Germany

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