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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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5675
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    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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