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Prostitution and Violence: Evidence from Sweden

Maria Berlin (), Giancarlo Spagnolo, Giovanni Immordino () and Francesco F. Russo ()
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Francesco F. Russo: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Postal: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

No 52, SITE Working Paper Series from Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics

Abstract: The Swedish prostitution law criminalizes sex buyers but not sellers and is praised for significantly reducing street prostitution while protecting sex workers. As a consequence, this “Nordic model” is rapidly spreading around the world. However, a rigorous evaluation of the effects of this legislation on sex market participants and society at large is still missing. We document an increase in violence against women following the introduction of this law, mostly ascribable to domestic violence rather than violence towards sex workers. We propose a model that rationalizes our findings and simulates the effects of alternative policies. The results also suggest that the freeze of prostitution markets may have been one determinant of the surge in domestic violence observed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Keywords: Prostitution; Regulation; Prohibition; Laissez-faire; Violence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 42 pages
Date: 2019-12-09, Revised 2020-06-25
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-ore
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