More Definitive Evidence on the Link Between Video Games and Labor-Force Participation…

Earlier this summer, four economists released a working paper suggesting that part of the decline in male labor-force participation can be attributed to the increased quality of video games:

Why Some Men Don’t Work: Video Games Have Gotten Really Good

Why Some Men Don’t Work: Video Games Have Gotten Really Good

Young men are working less. Some economists think it’s because they’re home playing video games.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2017/07/03/upshot/why-some-men-dont-work-video-games-have-gotten-really-good.html?mcubz=0

You can also see a non-technical summary of the paper as part of the NBER digest. Conceptually at least, this makes sense- better leisure activities increase the opportunity cost of working, which decreases the net benefit of working, and generally we do less of something when it’s perceived as less beneficial. As the article notes, this could lead to an increase in happiness for the non-working men (though perhaps not for those around them!) despite lower work hours/income if they like the video games more than they like what else they could get with the income from working. (In other words, the video game choice, if it exists, isn’t necessarily irrational.)

Not surprisingly, some people have their doubts about this finding, and there is additional disagreement about the social and policy implications of such a conclusion. I think I fall into this camp to some degree, but additional evidence makes it difficult for me to ignore the link between video games and male labor-force participation at a more general level:

Mario is no longer a plumber

Mario is no longer a plumber

It’s-a tragedy.

Source: qz.com/1069220/nintendo-says-that-mario-is-no-longer-a-plumber/

I assume, like any good capitalist, he’s now living off of the interest on all those gold coins he’s collected.