Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?

43 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2012

See all articles by Manudeep Bhuller

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: June 2012

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 estimates show that internet use is associated with a substantial increase in both reports, charges and convictions of rape and other sex crimes. We present a conceptual 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. To investigate the importance of these mechanisms, we use data on individual reporting behavior, police investigations, and criminal charges and convictions. None of the analyses we perform suggest that the positive relationship between internet use and sex crime is driven by changes in reporting behavior. Our findings suggest, however, that the direct effect on sex crime propensity is positive and non-negligible, possibly as a result of increased consumption of pornography.

Keywords: broadband internet, sex crime, rape, media

JEL Classification: K420, H400, L960, C260

Suggested Citation

Bhuller, Manudeep and Havnes, Tarjei and Leuven, Edwin and Mogstad, Magne, Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime? (June 2012). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3871. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2101083

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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