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Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?

  • Bhuller, Manudeep

    ()

    (University of Chicago)

  • Havnes, Tarjei

    ()

    (University of Oslo)

  • Leuven, Edwin

    ()

    (University of Oslo)

  • Mogstad, Magne

    ()

    (University of Chicago)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5675.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economic Studies, 2013, 80 (4), 1237-1266
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5675
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