References (15)



Do Statutory Rape Laws Work?

Matthew Henry

Cleveland State University

Scott Cunningham

Baylor University

March 1, 2009

CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper

Every state in the United States has laws which prohibit sexual activity with individuals under a certain age. These laws are typically strict liability. Generally, they are justifed under the auspice of protecting young women from 'predatory' older males. However, nobody has examined the effectiveness of these laws. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLSY), and exploiting the differences in the laws among states and over time, we examine whether the laws restricting the number of legal sexual partners delays the sexual debut of both males and females. We find that the laws are successful in accomplishing these goals. Overall, an additional 1 year of potential partners leads to about a 10% increase in the probability of sexual debut at any age.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: Statutory rape, criminal law, sexual debut

JEL Classification: K14, K42

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Date posted: August 3, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Henry, Matthew and Cunningham, Scott, Do Statutory Rape Laws Work? (March 1, 2009). CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1443273 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443273

Contact Information

Matthew Henry (Contact Author)
Cleveland State University ( email )
Cleveland, OH
United States
216-687-4532 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.csuohio.edu/class/economics/people/henry.html
Scott Cunningham
Baylor University ( email )
Waco, TX 76798
United States
254-710-4753 (Phone)
254-710-6142 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://business.baylor.edu/Scott_Cunningham/home.html
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References:  15

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