Schwarzenegger Lowers Crime

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is one politician who can credibly claim that he is truly responsible for reducing crime, at least if you believe a new study by economists Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna. It isn’t his policies as governor, however, that he can take credit for, but rather his acting roles.

In their new paper entitled “Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?” they actually find that assaults are lower when a blockbuster violent movie is released, and their results have attracted the attention of the media. Although it might be tempting to an economics world outsider to react with knee-jerk negativity to this research and discount it as being flawed or nonsense, Dahl and DellaVigna are both outstanding young economists who do excellent work. I have only read the paper quickly, and I did not find anything obviously wrong with it. In fact, it seems like they have done the analysis with great care. The one thing I find strange about the paper is that they put tremendous emphasis on violent movies, but really they find pretty similar magnitudes from people attending non-violent or mildly violent movies as well. More or less, it looks like going to movies is good, clean, wholesome fun that substitutes for other activities, such as heavy drinking, that tend to lead to violence.

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  1. Gene Shiau says:

    “[R]eally they find pretty similar magnitudes from people attending non-violent or mildly violent movies as well,” observed Levitt. I will put forward a corollary hypothesis: break-ins would be higher when a blockbuster movie is released. After all, everyone would be in the cinema, and the house would be left empty, eh?

    The trouble is, break-ins don’t make an eye-catching headline. No economists would care to publish a study on that.

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  2. Terry says:

    News Alert ! News Alert !

    Brilliant economist, using impeccable methods,
    discovers that prison rehabilitation doesn’t work!

    “All this money being spent to rehabilitate and
    teach job skills to prisoners is a complete waste!”

    The brilliant economist compared two prisons with
    similar types of inmates. In the first prison, no
    money was spent on rehabilitation, while in the second
    prison copious dollars were spent on teaching literacy
    skills, job skills, interpersonal skills, etc…

    Using statistics, the brilliant economist discovered
    that the exact same number of prisoners were committing
    crimes outside the prison. In fact, even during two days
    after being released the prisoners from both prisons
    committed a comparable number of crimes…

    This should put the debate over prison rehabilitation
    to rest!

    For more on the effects of media violence see:

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  3. Yusmary says:

    Recent studies (conducted in Europe, of all clpaes!) have concluded that the United States of America, with all it’s gun toting cowboys, has a lower average violent crime rate than the European nations and their near-ban on all firearms outside the police and military.But you want to know how to lower our already low violent crime rate?1) Deal with illegal immigration. Most illegals, not all, are associated with gangs and drug cartels and bring their work with them here when they (illegally) cross the border. However, our government is afraid to tackle illegal immigration properly, because of groups like the ACLU that sue whenever someone tries to deal with illegal immigration. Hell, our own government turned on Arizona when it tried to implement a nigh-identical immigration policy to what the Federal government has.2) Deal with gang violence. Most of the violent crime in America is tied to gangs, which predominantly occupy inner cities. However, most of these gangs are of black and Hispanic composition, so if a police department begins to actually make progress in taking down a gang it’s not long before the ACLU steps in and claims it is racial profiling and undoes everything the police department managed to achieve via legal action.3) Loosen gun control laws for law abiding citizens. Many politicians seem to think that stricter gun control laws will reduce violent crime, yet they don’t seem to realize that the only people following these laws are the law abiding citizens. The gang members and criminals aren’t going to give up their guns because of stricter gun control laws. It’s also been a proven fact that the areas with the strictest gun control laws have the highest amount of violent crime, while the areas with the most lax gun control laws have the lowest amount of violent crime. Your typical thug isn’t going to risk his life for a wallet or purse if there is a chance the person he is going to rob is armed and could kill him in self defense. They like nice, easy, unarmed targets. And they’ll always hit someone or someplace they know is unarmed rather than chance a hit on someone or someplace they know is armed or believe may be armed.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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