26 - University of California, Berkeley Department of...

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University of California, Berkeley Department of Economics EC196: Topics in Economic Research First Paper Economic Analysis of Media Violence: A Policy Perspective Mentor: Shari J. Eli
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E C 1 9 6 F r a n K a u z l a r i c Research Paper 1 SID#: 20789065 2 I. Introduction The main purpose of this paper is to evaluate the economic literature on the effects of media violence on various aspects of both social behavior and number of crimes in the society. Current literature seems to offer an inadequate policy perspective, with a wide gap between the effects of media violence on social behavior on the one hand and number of crimes on the other. In addition, lack of knowledge on long-term consequences of media violence restricts the policy makers on short- or medium-term decisions which are, as argued by some, inadequate in dealing with violence in society. This paper makes an attempt to create a synthesis of seemingly contradictory evidence in order to provide applicable, sensible policy proposals. The main focus is on two lines of thought. Firstly, it is a series of papers in psychology published by Anderson (Anderson et.al, 2002; Anderson, 2003), which as a premise have the idea that media violence corresponds with a more violent society because it causes aggressive behavior. Secondly, it is based on the recent paper by DellaVigna and Dahl (2009), which argues that media violence is associated with a reduction in the number of reported crimes (maybe mention their time substitution thing). A thorough analysis of these conflicting findings is necessary in order to grasp the true combination of Anderson’s psychological approach, Dahl-DellaVigna economics approach, and to finally produce a sensible policy proposal on dealing with violence. (to have the parallel structure with verbs The paper is organized in the following way: Section II provides a brief overview of the two articles to which I refer throughout the essay. Section III analyzes the Dahl-DellaVigna article in detail, questioning the external validity of their study by using a different set of descriptive data, yet eventually acknowledging the value of their findings. In Section IV, I observe the strengths and weaknesses of Anderson’s study, and I attempt to synthesize the two papers discussed. Section V discusses policy implications of this synthesis. Finally, in Section VI I propose a longitudinal research design that could answer some currently unanswered questions, and I summarize my paper in Section VII.
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E C 1 9 6 F r a n K a u z l a r i c Research Paper 1 SID#: 20789065 3 II. Literature Overview A recent paper by Dahl and DellaVigna (2009) reaches an intriguing conclusion on a well-explored topic of media violence. Their field research of variation in the violence of movies and its effect on same-day assaults concludes that there is a decrease in violent crime on days with larger attendance in theatres showing violent movies 1 . According to their paper, the effect is twofold. On one hand, the effect is due to what they call ‘voluntary incapacitation’: the mere
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26 - University of California, Berkeley Department of...

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