The Internet and Racial Hate Crime: Offline Spillovers from Online Access

MIS Quarterly, Vol. 40, Issue 2, pp. 381-403, June 2016

NET Institute Working Paper No. 13-02

44 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2013 Last revised: 25 Oct 2016

Jason Chan

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Anindya Ghose

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Robert Seamans

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Date Written: July 15, 2015

Abstract

We empirically investigate the effect of the Internet on racial hate crimes in the United States from the period 2001–2008. We find evidence that, on average, broadband availability increases racial hate crimes. We also document that the Internet’s impact on these hate crimes is not uniform in that the positive effect is stronger in areas with higher levels of racism, which we identify as those with more segregation and a higher proportion of racially charged search terms, but not significant in areas with lower levels of racism. We analyze in depth whether Internet access will enhance hate group operations but find no support for the idea that this mechanism is driving the result. In contrast, we find that online access is increasing the incidence of racial hate crimes executed by lone wolf perpetrators. We describe several other mechanisms that could be driving the results. Overall, our results shed light on one of the many offline societal challenges from increased online access.

Keywords: Internet, broadband, online-offline interaction, hate crime, race, econometrics, panel models

JEL Classification: L86, L96, H40, K42, C26

Suggested Citation

Chan, Jason and Ghose, Anindya and Seamans, Robert, The Internet and Racial Hate Crime: Offline Spillovers from Online Access (July 15, 2015). MIS Quarterly, Vol. 40, Issue 2, pp. 381-403, June 2016; NET Institute Working Paper No. 13-02 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2335637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2335637

Jason Chan (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

HOME PAGE: http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/faculty/jason-chan

Anindya Ghose

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Robert Seamans

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

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