Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?
University of Chicago
University of Oslo - Department of Economics
University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Statistics Norway; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
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