50 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2011
Date Written: 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.
Keywords: Broadband internet, sex crime, rape, pornography
JEL Classification: K42, H40, L96, C26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Bhuller, Manudeep and Havnes, Tarjei and Leuven, Edwin and Mogstad, Magne, Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime? (July 8, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1881507 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1881507