Does Economic Inequality Impact the Number of Arrests in NFL Stadia?

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J Jobu Babin Jessica Harriger-Lin Alice Melkumian

Abstract

This paper assesses income inequality between markets as a factor in the arrest rates at NFL stadia over five years. Using two novel measures, we find that as the difference in economic inequality between team markets increases, so does the expected number of fan arrests at NFL games. Our results are robust across several specifications and inequality measures as we control for game-time factors, metropolitan economic characteristics, behavioral aspects of fan expectations and rivalry, ticket prices and alcohol, and other unobservable aspects of home stadia in a fixed-effects environment. We conclude that as access to professional sporting events increasingly becomes the domain of the wealthy, so does criminally offensive behavior that goes beyond alcohol-fueled "crimes of passion" - the consequence of wealth-driven friction between visiting spectators and home team fans. (Z21, H80, D91, Z29)

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