Are Video Games Keeping Men Out of the Workforce? One Study Thinks So.

A new study suggests America's young men are increasingly giving up work to play video games.
video games

Video games might be the culprit of why young men are opting out of the workforce.

A new study from academics at Princeton University, the University of Chicago and the University of Rochester found ample evidence that since 2000 men who would otherwise be working are instead giving up their paychecks to play video games.

The rise of gaming “accounts for 23 to 46 percent of the decline in market work for younger men during the 2000s,” the paper’s authors write, according to a comprehensive study of the profile covered in The Wall Street Journal. For men ages 21 to 30, hours worked fell by 12 percent between 2000 and 2015, compared with a decline of 8 percent in hours worked for men 31 to 55, the Journal report said.

Most surprising about the study’s findings is that these men are reporting higher levels of happiness compared with those who work. Moreover, they’re these men are supported by their parents. The researchers found that about 70 percent of these men who aren’t working lived with a close relative in 2015 versus 46 percent in 2000. What’s more, the authors in the study warn that these men’s absence from the workforce is likely to negatively affect their employment and earnings prospects for their entire lives.

The paper is “somewhat controversial,” Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday. “There’s some data supporting it, but it’s somewhat far-fetched” to think games are entirely behind what’s happening, he told the newspaper.

Frank Kalman is Talent Economy‘s managing editor. To comment, email