Does video games’ popularity affect unemployment rate? Evidence from macro-level analysis
Purpose – Video games are considered as a leisure activity that makes being unemployed more attractive than
before. In this study, the authors use eSports prizes as a proxy for the popularity of video games to analyze its
influence on total and youth unemployment.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors develop a theoretical model and empirically test it using the
total prize money won by representatives of a country in a given season in eSports tournaments, via a panel
regression model with the country-year as a unit of observation. The data set includes information about 191
countries between 2000 and 2015.
Findings – The authors’ results of regression analysis show a positive influence of the popularity of video
games on the unemployment rate. In addition, the authors analyze this effect for countries with different levels
of income and labor productivity. The authors found a significant inverse relationship between income level
and the effect of the popularity of video games on total and youth unemployment.
Originality/value – While previous studies rely mostly on self-reported data, the authors suggest a new
approach to measure video game popularity. This paper contributes to existing knowledge with empirical
evidence on how leisure activities affect unemployment at the country level.