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Angry Birds Shaves $1.5 Billion Off the U.S. Economy

| 14 Sep 2011 17:36
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A wholly unscientific analysis concludes that Angry Birds costs the U.S. economy more than $1.5 billion per year in lost wages.

Every now and then a story pops up somewhere bemoaning the vast bazillions of dollars that some trivial activity is costing the economy in lost productivity. People screw in time on fantasy football leagues, getting drunk on St. Patrick's Day or sitting on the crapper the day after a big Taco Bell blowout and because of it, hundreds of millions of dollars that would have helped drive the economy to new heights are instead flushed down the drain. And since the Angry Birds phenomenon is one of the biggest time-sinks to come along in recent years, The Atlantic decided to figure out just how much damage it's really doing.

The analysis is based on a recent report that people around the world blow 200 million minutes on Angry Birds every day, an astonishing figure that adds up to 866,666,667 hours per year. Using the entirely arbitrary assumption that five percent of that time is screwed in by Americans at work, the site determined that 43.3 million hours that would otherwise have been spent productively in the workplace are being wasted on the game. Multiplying that by an average hourly wage of $35, it came up with a final, scientifically indisputable [or not] figure of $1,516,666,667 in wages lost to Angry Birds over the course of a single year.

The economic validity of this study is beyond question [or not] but speaking as a poor person, even I have to admit that pegging the average hourly wage at $35 seems awfully generous. Where did it come from? "I basically split Americans up into four categories: people earning $30,000, $50,000, $75,000, and $100,000, then I calculated simple hourly wages for those groups (income/52/40) and did a weighted average based on smartphone adoption in those categories," the author explained, noting that the figure is close to the $38 per hour figure used in a similar, presumably somewhat more serious study that found that fantasy football leagues cost U.S. companies $10.5 billion in lost wages.

A follow-up report examining the economic impact of people who play Angry Birds while sitting on the crapper the day after a big Taco Bell blowout is expected to be released soon.

Thanks to The_root_of_all_evil for the tip.

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