The digital sin city: An empirical study of craigslist's impact on prostitution trends

Probal Mojumder, Jason Chan, Anindya Ghose

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Online prostitution has flourished due to presence of online intermediaries. Despite the illegality of selling sexual services online, the Section 230 of Communications Decency Act shields websites from liability for unlawful postings by third parties. Consequently, the websites like Craigslist have become a haven for prostitution-related ads. In this paper, we quantify the economic impact of Craigslist's entry on prostitution incidence, and identify potential pathways in which the website affects the sex industry. Using a national panel data for 1,796 U.S. counties from 1999 to 2008, our results suggest that entry of Craigslist to a county is related to 26.61 percent increase in prostitution cases. In addition, our analyses investigates four key market mechanisms, namely the relationship to commercial vice, geographical trends, spillover effects, and enhanced policing efficacy. Our results contributes broadly to the emerging literature that researches the societal challenges associated with online intermediaries and Internet penetration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2016
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
ISBN (Electronic)9780996683135
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Event2016 International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2016 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: Dec 11 2016Dec 14 2016

Publication series

Name2016 International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2016

Other

Other2016 International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2016
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period12/11/1612/14/16

Keywords

  • Classified ad websites
  • Commercialized Vice
  • Craigslist
  • Online intermediaries
  • Online platforms
  • Prostitution
  • Vice crimes

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