Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?
University of Oslo - Department of Economics; Statistics Norway
University of Oslo - Department of Economics
University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Statistics Norway; IZA Institute of Labor Economics
July 8, 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 sex crime propensity. Our results suggest that the direct effect is non-negligible and positive, possibly as a result of increased consumption of pornography.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: Broadband internet, sex crime, rape, pornography
JEL Classification: K42, H40, L96, C26
Date posted: July 8, 2011