Internet Porn = Fewer Rapes

Here is an interesting article on the effect of the Internet and Internet porn on the number of reported rapes. The article is by Steven Landsburg, and economist at the University of Rochester. The argument runs as follows: If you look at the number of reported rapes in each of the 50 states you see declines are significantly correlated with the introduction of the Internet. The sooner/faster the Internet is introduced to a state the bigger the effect. Further, the effect persists even when one controls for confounding factors like population density, unemployment, poverty rates, police presences, etc. And while this doesn’t point to Internet porn as being the reason why the number of reported rapes are falling there are other ancillary bits of information that support this hypothesis. Things like 15- to 19-year-olds are the most likely to rely on the Internet for access to porn, and the effect of the Internet is strongest amongst the 15- to 19-year-old perpetrators.

There also appears to be a similar effect with regards to violent movies and violent crimes. That is, the more people watching a violent movie, the less violent crimes are committed. At least for a short period after the movie.

Via Radley Balko.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, General,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Anderson says:

    Unfortunately, OTB readers were too busy preventing themselves from raping anyone, to comment on Steve’s post.

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    Yeah, I was a little surprised at the lack of comments….

  3. Anderson says:

    Guilty consciences, doubtless.

    Did you see Lindgren’s post at the VC on this?

  4. John Burgess says:

    The power of vicarious experience is vastly underrated.