Montana State University

Link between domestic violence, football to be discussed April 2 at MSU

March 18, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN -- A free public lecture about the link between domestic violence and wins and losses by professional football teams will be given at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in 125 Linfield Hall at Montana State University.

Gordon Dahl, a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California-San Diego, will present "Family Violence and Football, The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior."

Dahl hypothesizes that the risk of violence is affected by the "gain-loss" utility of game outcomes around a rationally expected reference point. Controlling for the pre-game point spread and the size of the local viewing audience, upset losses lead to a 10 percent increase in the rate of at-home violence by men against their wives and girlfriends. In contrast, losses when the game was expected to be close have small and insignificant effects. Upset wins (victories when the home team was predicted to lose) also have little impact on violence. The rise in violence after an upset loss is concentrated in a narrow time window near the end of the game and is larger for more important games. From a policy perspective, the results of this study suggest that better awareness and management of expectations could help to reduce violence within families.

Dahl is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor, and a fellow of the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. Previously, he was a faculty member at the University of Rochester and held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University. His research interests include labor economics and applied microeconomics. His articles have appeared in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of the American Statistical Association, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Review of Economic Studies, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Dahl’s lecture is sponsored by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, and is presented by the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students in order to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance research connections.

For more information about this and other L&S Distinguished Speakers Series lectures, visit or call 994-4288.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or