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The Internet and Hate Crime: Offline Spillovers from Online Access

Author

Listed:
  • Jason Chan

    (New York University, Stern School of Business, IOMS Department)

  • Anindya Ghose

    (New York University, Stern School of Business, IOMS Department)

  • Robert Seamans

    (New York University, Stern School of Business, Management Department)

Abstract

The Internet has had profound effects on society, both positive and negative. In this paper we examine the effect of the Internet on a negative spillover: hate crime. In order to better understand the link, we study the extent to which broadband availability affects racial hatecrimes in the US from 1999 – 2008. To address measurement error, we instrument for broadband availability using slope of terrain. We find strong evidence that broadband availability increases racial hate crimes. The results are stronger in areas with greater racial segregation and with more online searches for racist words, suggesting that the direct effect of the Internet on hate crime is primarily due to a heightening of pre-existing propensities to engage in hate activity. We find no evidence that the Internet has affected crime reporting. The results are robust to alternative specifications and falsification tests. These results shed light on one of the many offline spillovers from increased online access, and suggest that governmental and private regulation of online content may help reduce hate crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Chan & Anindya Ghose & Robert Seamans, 2013. "The Internet and Hate Crime: Offline Spillovers from Online Access," Working Papers 13-02, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1302
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    1. Abdallah Salami & Robert Seamans, 2014. "The Effect of the Internet on Newspaper Readability," Working Papers 14-13, NET Institute.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internet; broadband; online-offline interaction; hate crime; race;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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