Video games have become a great source of entertainment for people of all ages but have especially become popular amongst the younger generation. But what happens when young men become so entranced in video games that it becomes to impede their work ethic? According to a new working paper written by economists Erik Hurst, Mark Aguiar, Mark Bils, and Kerwin Charles and released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research states that video games are the cause for young men working fewer hours.
Hurst received a lot of attention when he first made this claim during a graduation speech at the University of Chicago, Hurst now says that the paper is ready to be read by the public. The logic behind the paper centers around the idea of how housework helped to free women from entering the labor force during the 1960s and 1970s time period and that leisure activity such as video games could do the same thing for men.
According to a study conducted in 2015, American men 31 to 55 were working 163 hours fewer than previous years and men 21 to 30 were working 203 hours fewer, almost 40 hours a year on average. Hurst and the other economists began looking for reasons as to why young men do not want to work rather than reasons why employers do not ant young men. Hurst and the other economists estimate that since 2004 video games were the reason behind the declining hours of work done by young men by 15 to 30 yearly.
During 2004 to 2015, the economists found that during the recession more people found extra time for leisure activates and the increases in video game time affected work, they found an increase of 60 percent of young men’s leisure activity was spent playing video games. The economists believe that the advance in social video gaming technology is to blame for the increase in young men’s playing time with games such as League of Legends, Warframe, and World of Warcraft are huge upgrades where gamers can go on quests and missions for hours on end in contrary to the beginning of the Super Mario Bros. series where there were only a few levels and even that game has since received major upgrades.
Adam Alter, a professor of marketing at psychology at New York University, argues that video games today do not have any end, “Many video games don’t have them, they’re built to be endless or have long-range goals that we don’t like to abandon.” This causes an attraction to young men and even women who according to data gathered from the study showed 41 percent of the American gaming population are women, though there has been no increase in gaming time. Hurst and his economist find that young non-college-educated men who play video games tend to be happier than their older counterparts, and Hurst seems to have no problem with young men doing so, as he states, “Why not have a little fun in your 20s and work in your 80s?” Hurst believes that young men tend to be unsure about what they want to do with their lives and will be able to find good jobs someday as they age and hopefully break away from the attraction of video games.
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