The internet and racial hate crime: Offline spillovers from online access

Jason Chan, Anindya Ghose, Robert Seamans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research note reports on an empirical investigation of the effect of the Internet on racial hate crimes in the United States from the period 2001-2008. We find evidence that, on average, broadband availability increases racial hate crimes. We also document that the Internet's impact on these hate crimes is not uniform in that the positive effect is stronger in areas with higher levels of racism, which we identify as those with more segregation and a higher proportion of racially charged search terms, but not significant in areas with lower levels of racism. We analyze in depth whether Internet access will enhance hate group operations but find no support for the idea that this mechanism is driving the result. In contrast, we find that online access is increasing the incidence of racial hate crimes executed by lone Wolf perpetrators. Several other mechanisms that could be driving the results are described. Overall, our results shed light on one of the many offline societal challenges from increased online access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-403
Number of pages23
JournalMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Broadband
  • Econometrics
  • Hate crime
  • Hate groups
  • Internet
  • Online-offline interaction
  • Panel models
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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