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Prostitution and Violence: Evidence from Sweden

Author

Listed:
  • Perrotta Berlin, Maria

    () (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics)

  • Spagnolo, Giancarlo

    () (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics)

  • Immordino, Giovanni

    () (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics)

  • F. Russo, Francesco

    () (Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics)

Abstract

The Swedish prostitution law criminalizes sex buyers but not sellers and is praised for significantly reducing street prostitution while protecting sex workers. As a consequence, this “Nordic model” is rapidly spreading around the world. However, a rigorous evaluation of the effects of this legislation on sex market participants and society at large is still missing. We document an increase in violence against women following the introduction of this law, mostly ascribable to domestic violence rather than violence towards sex workers. We propose a model that rationalizes our findings and simulates the effects of alternative policies. The results also suggest that the freeze of prostitution markets may have been one determinant of the surge in domestic violence observed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Perrotta Berlin, Maria & Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Immordino, Giovanni & F. Russo, Francesco, 2019. "Prostitution and Violence: Evidence from Sweden," SITE Working Paper Series 52, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, revised 25 Jun 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hasite:0052
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Prostitution; Regulation; Prohibition; Laissez-faire; Violence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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