Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?
University of Oslo - Department of Economics; Statistics Norway
University of Oslo - Department of Economics
National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)
Statistics Norway; IZA Institute of Labor Economics
April 13, 2011
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Internet, broadband, instrumental variables, sex crimes, rape, pornography
JEL Classification: J13, H40, I28, D31
Date posted: April 22, 2011