Bullfighting, violence and development: opinions and evidence


  • Luís Capucha Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, ISCTE-IUL, Lisboa, Portugal
  • Luís Pereira Mestre em Desenvolvimento, Diversidades Locais e Desafios Mundiais, ISCTE-IUL, Lisboa, Portugal
  • Tiago Tavares Master in Finance, INDEG/ISCTE, Lisboa, Portugal




bullfight, development, violence


The argument that the participation or attendance of children in bullfights (considered as an anachronistic practice, reminiscent of the past unworthy of modern societies) impairs their psychological development and encourages violent behaviour, is being disseminated in recent years. Some international bodies have also issued similar opinions. The present article intends, in a modest way and without controversy around the subject, to test the bases of empirical sustentation of such argument. For this purpose, has been constructed a “bullfighting activity index” that shows the intensity of the presence of bullfighting in each county of Portugal. This index has been correlated with the purchasing power index (approximation to the level of development of the county) and the crime rate (approximation to the putative psychological effects of bullfighting). It was found that there is no significant correlation between attendance or participation in bullfighting activities, on one hand, and levels of development and crime, including violent crime on the other hand.