Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?

42 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2011  

Manudeep Bhuller

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; Statistics Norway

Tarjei Havnes

University of Oslo - Department of Economics

Edwin Leuven

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)

Magne Mogstad

Statistics Norway; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 13, 2011

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.

Keywords: Internet, broadband, instrumental variables, sex crimes, rape, pornography

JEL Classification: J13, H40, I28, D31

Suggested Citation

Bhuller, Manudeep and Havnes, Tarjei and Leuven, Edwin and Mogstad, Magne, Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime? (April 13, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1813905 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1813905

Manudeep Bhuller

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/manudeepbhuller

Statistics Norway ( email )

N-0033 Oslo
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/manudeepbhuller

Tarjei Havnes (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/people/aca/tarjeiha/index.html

Edwin Leuven

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST) ( email )

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

Magne Mogstad

Statistics Norway ( email )

N-0033 Oslo
Norway

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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