Weekly Top 5 Papers – September 6, 2018

1. Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime by Karsten Müller (University of Warwick – Warwick Business School) and Carlo Schwarz (University of Warwick)

There is an increasing worry that social media may not always have strictly positive effects on society. As empirical researchers, it was striking to us just how little of the debate was actually based on data.

 In this paper, we document that hate crimes against refugees in Germany disproportionally increase in areas with high social media usage at times we observes spikes in anti-refugee sentiment on social media. However, this correlation alone does not tell us much about causality. We thus develop a methodology based on local internet outages and disruptions of Facebook access.

 As it turns out, the relationship between hate crimes and social media exposure to anti-refugee sentiment disappears in weeks when such outages occur. We interpret this as first suggestive evidence that social media may have a propagating effect on violent incidents in an environment where tensions are already high.                           –Karsten Müller


2. ‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy by Daniel J. Solove (George Washington University Law School)

3. How a Botched Study Fooled the World About the U.S. Share of Mass Public Shootings: U.S. Rate is Lower than Global Average by John R. Lott (Crime Prevention Research Center)

4. Of Coups and the Constitution by Glenn Harlan Reynolds (University of Tennessee College of Law)

When I started this piece, Barack Obama was still in the White House, and the subject seemed largely academic and certainly of no great public interest.  By the time it was published in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review,   President Trump was in the White House and talk of military coups was commonplace.  It made the Top 5 then, and now, for some reason, it’s back in the Weekly Top 5 again.  This probably doesn’t speak well of the health of our polity, but I’m happy for the downloads, anyway. . . Glenn Reynolds


5. Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona by John R. Lott (Crime Prevention Research Center)


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