Remember that Research Blaming Video Games for Keeping Young Men from Working? It’s Back.

Remember last September when we shared a Washington Post article that highlighted research blaming video games for keeping young men from entering the workforce? Here was our tweet:

This week, the National Bureau of Economic Research published that research in a paper. It’s as bad as expected. The paper claims that young men (age 21 to 30) are absent from the workforce because they’re choosing video games over employment.



Here’s the summary: Researcher Erik Hurst looked at the employment rates of lower-skilled men (men without bachelor’s degrees) age 21 to 30 and saw a ten percent decline over the last 15 years. From 2004 to 2015, lower-skilled men also saw their leisure time grow by 2.3 hours a week, with 1.4 of those hours going to video games.

What doesn’t add up, however, is that Hurst isn’t able to provide evidence to prove that video games are driving men to leave the work force. He also describes video game players as basement dwellers that mooch off their parents and don’t shower. Seriously?

Hurst doesn’t provide direct evidence because there isn’t any. The study didn’t find that women were more inclined to leave the workforce, even though 41 percent of American video game players are women. Furthermore, when looking at other labor force participation rates abroad, we haven’t seen the same decline as we have here in the United States, despite the global reach of video games.

What we have seen is that for decades, young men, some without a college degree, have found fewer work options. Labor intensive jobs such as construction and manufacturing, which historically have employed young men, are not growing at the same rate as jobs in healthcare or other sectors that have historically employed very few.

So it’s time to speak up – as gamers who work, have families, and serve as active members of our communities.

Help us show Hurst and the National Bureau of Economic Research that agenda-driven attacks on video games won’t go unchecked. Share your story of how you manage it all: a busy life, a family, school, soccer practices – whatever you do – and video games. We’ll share your responses on Facebook and Twitter.

At some point, we’ll stop seeing stereotypes against gamers. Until then, we’ll continue to defend video games and gamers against agenda-driven research.


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