Economists have published a paper that examines a potential link between “high-quality video games” and a declining employment rate for young adults.
Reported by The Economist, Mark Aguiar, Mark Bulks, Kerwin Charles and Erik Hurst identified such games as “leisure luxuries” that are “are contributing to a decline in work among young people, and especially young men.”
Documented from 2000 and 2015, the employment rate for men in their 20s and without a college education dropped from 82% to 72%. The article cites that people in this group “often live at their parents’ homes and tend not to marry at the same rate as their peers.”
It goes on to explain that, “For each hour less the group spent in work, time spent at leisure activities rose about an hour, and 75% of the increased leisure time was accounted for by gaming.”
The Economist states that a greater sense of reward from progress in video games may be holding people back from developing or even pursuing a career. Better graphics, engaging storylines and games being more affordable—especially compared to other luxury items—are suggested as possible contributors to the trend.
Caveats to the study include several labour market factors, such as stagnating wages for young college graduates since the 1990s. The article also points to the financial crisis and subsequent recession having a bigger impact on young people than the population as a whole.
Gaming may simply be an affordable downtime leisure during a period where there are fewer opportunities in preferred career paths and full-time work in general.
The full article can be found on The Economist’s website.