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Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?

Author

Listed:
  • Bhuller, Manudeep

    () (University of Oslo)

  • Havnes, Tarjei

    () (University of Oslo)

  • Leuven, Edwin

    () (University of Oslo)

  • Mogstad, Magne

    () (University of Chicago)

Abstract

Does internet use trigger sex crime? We use unique Norwegian data on crime and internet adoption to shed light on this question. A public program with limited funding rolled out broadband access points in 2000-2008, and provides plausibly exogenous variation in internet use. Our instrumental variables and fixed effect estimates show that internet use is associated with a substantial increase in reported incidences of rape and other sex crimes. We present a theoretical framework that highlights three mechanisms for how internet use may affect reported sex crime, namely a reporting effect, a matching effect on potential offenders and victims, and a direct effect on crime propensity. Our results indicate that the direct effect is non-negligible and positive, plausibly as a result of increased consumption of pornography.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhuller, Manudeep & Havnes, Tarjei & Leuven, Edwin & Mogstad, Magne, 2011. "Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?," IZA Discussion Papers 5675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5675
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The internet increases sex crime. Who’da thunk?
      by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2011-05-15 13:15:52

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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Faber & Rosa Sanchis-Guarner & Felix Weinhardt, 2015. "ICT and Education: Evidence from Student Home Addresses," SERC Discussion Papers 0186, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    2. Oliver Falck & Constantin Mang & Ludger Wößmann, 2015. "Virtually No Effect? Different Uses of Classroom Computers and their Effect on Student Achievement," CESifo Working Paper Series 5266, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Liang, Che-Yuan & Nordin, Mattias, 2012. "The Internet, News Consumption, and Political Attitudes," Working Paper Series 2012:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Stefano DellaVigna & Eliana La Ferrara, 2015. "Economic and Social Impacts of the Media," NBER Working Papers 21360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Enikolopov, Ruben & Makarin, Alexey & Petrova, Maria, 2016. "Social Media and Protest Participation: Evidence from Russia," CEPR Discussion Papers 11254, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Owsiński, Jan W. & Pielak, Aneta M. & Sęp, Krzysztof, 2013. "Smartness, culture and local authority ICT awareness: an empirical enquiry for a province in Poland," Studies in Agricultural Economics, Research Institute for Agricultural Economics, vol. 115(2), June.
    7. Melanie Guldi & Chris M. Herbst, 2017. "Offline effects of online connecting: the impact of broadband diffusion on teen fertility decisions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 69-91, January.
    8. D'Este, Rocco, 2014. "The Effect of Stolen Goods Markets on Crime: Evidence from a Quasi - Natural Experiment," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1040, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    9. Gabriel Ahlfeldt & Pantelis Koutroumpis & Tommaso Valletti, 2017. "Speed 2.0: Evaluating Access to Universal Digital Highways," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 586-625.
    10. Wiederhold, Simon & Falck, Oliver & Heimisch, Alexandra, 2015. "Returns to ICT Skills," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112803, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Gabriella Conti & Rita Ginja, 2017. "Who benefits from free health insurance: evidence from Mexico," IFS Working Papers W17/26, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    12. Müller, Karsten & Schwarz, Carlo, 2018. "Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 373, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    13. Jason Chan & Anindya Ghose & Robert Seamans, 2013. "The Internet and Hate Crime: Offline Spillovers from Online Access," Working Papers 13-02, NET Institute.
    14. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:308-325 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Briglauer, Wolfgang & Dürr, Niklas S. & Falck, Oliver & Hüschelrath, Kai, 2016. "Does state aid for broadband deployment in rural areas close the digital and economic divide?," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-064, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    16. repec:bla:obuest:v:80:y:2018:i:1:p:1-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Konstantin Sonin, 2018. "Social Media and Corruption," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 150-174, January.
    18. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Woessmann, Ludger, 2014. "Surfing alone? The internet and social capital: Evidence from an unforeseeable technological mistake," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 73-89.
    19. Leuven, Edwin & Akerman, Anders & Mogstad, Magne, 2018. "Information Frictions, Internet and the Relationship between Distance and Trade," Memorandum 1/2018, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    20. Victor Couture & Benjamin Faber & Yizhen Gu & Lizhi Liu, 2018. "E-Commerce Integration and Economic Development: Evidence from China," NBER Working Papers 24384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Abdallah Salami & Robert Seamans, 2014. "The Effect of the Internet on Newspaper Readability," Working Papers 14-13, NET Institute.
    22. Chen, Daniel L. & Yeh, Susan, 2016. "How Do Rights Revolutions Occur? Free Speech and the First Amendment," IAST Working Papers 16-51, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    23. Fulvio Castellacci & Henrik Schwabe, 2018. "Internet Use and the U-shaped relationship between Age and Well-being," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20180215, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    pornography; sex crimes; instrumental variables; broadband; rape; internet;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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