Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SITE Working Paper Series,
Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics

No 63: International Spillovers from Prostitution Regulation: The "Nordic Model" and Sex Tourism

Maria Perrotta Berlin (), Chiara Latour and Giancarlo Spagnolo ()
Additional contact information
Maria Perrotta Berlin: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Postal: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Chiara Latour: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Postal: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Giancarlo Spagnolo: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Postal: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: We investigate the causal effect of the asymmetric criminalization of prostitution on sex tourism. We exploit legal reforms in five countries that switched from systems where prostitution was legal (Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Canada), or where only buying sex was legal (France), to the “Nordic model” where only buying is criminalized. Using a difference-in-differences approach on data from Google trends and tourism statistics, we estimate the impact of the reforms on tourism flows to neighboring countries and popular sex tourism destinations. We find significant effects for countries where prostitution was legal, but not for France where selling sex was prohibited.

Keywords: Prostitution law; Nordic model; Sex tourism; Google Trends; Policy spillovers

JEL-codes: D04; K14

Language: English

36 pages, First version: September 21, 2023. Revised: September 25, 2023.

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