Persistent Effects of Violent Media Content

52 Pages Posted: 26 May 2020

See all articles by Jason Lindo

Jason Lindo

Texas A&M University

Isaac D. Swensen

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics

Glen Waddell

University of Oregon - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

We document the immediate and long-term effects of violent media. Specifically, we evaluate the effects of The Ultimate Fighter, a hit TV show that features fighters competing in violent mixed martial arts and which brought Ultimate Fighting Championship into the mainstream. We estimate the effect of early exposure to this show using panel data from police agencies across the United States and a strategy that uses network ratings prior to the show's premier as an instrumental variable. We show that early exposure significantly reduced crime: these effects are particularly evident for assault, began in the month the show premiered, and persisted for many years. These estimates do not reflect systematic differences across geographic areas in their trends in crime rates prior to 2005. To complement our main results, we also investigate the effects of "UFC Main Events," which air in bars and on Pay-Per-View. This analysis additionally suggests reductions in violence caused by viewership.

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Suggested Citation

Lindo, Jason and Swensen, Isaac D. and Waddell, Glen, Persistent Effects of Violent Media Content (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27240, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3609693

Jason Lindo (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University

7101 University Avenue
STEM 318 H
Texarkana, TX 75503
United States

Isaac D. Swensen

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States

Glen Waddell

University of Oregon - Department of Economics ( email )

Eugene, OR 97403
United States

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