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Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health

Scott Cunningham and Manisha Shah ()

Review of Economic Studies, 2018, vol. 85, issue 3, 1683-1715

Abstract: Most governments in the world, including the U.S., prohibit sex work. Given these types of laws rarely change and are fairly uniform across regions, our knowledge about the impact of decriminalizing sex work is largely conjectural. We exploit the fact that a Rhode Island District Court judge unexpectedly decriminalized indoor sex work to provide causal estimates of the impact of decriminalization on the composition of the sex market, reported rape offences, and sexually transmitted infections. While decriminalization increases the size of the indoor sex market, reported rape offences fall by 30% and female gonorrhoea incidence declines by over 40%.

Keywords: Regulation; Sex work; Public health; Crime (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 J4 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health (2014) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:restud:v:85:y:2018:i:3:p:1683-1715.

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