Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: 125 Linfield Hall

Title: Family Violence and Football, The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior

Sponsoring department: Agricultural Economics & Economics


In this talk, Dr. Dahl will discuss research on the link between family violence and emotional cues associated with wins and losses by professional football teams. He 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 pregame 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. The estimated impact of an upset loss is about one-third as large as the jump in violence on a major holiday like the Fourth of July. From a policy perspective, the results of this study suggest that better awareness and management of expectations could help to reduce violence within families.

About the speaker:

Gordon Dahl is a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), 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. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1998 and his B.A. from Brigham Young University in 1993.

Dahl’s 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.