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Shame on you, John! Laws, stigmatization, and the demand for sex


The present article contributes to the literature on prostitution by shedding light on the effects of the criminalization of buying sex on the amount of prostitution bought, as well as on the proposed theoretical mechanisms underlying this change. We find indications that criminalizing the buying of sex may decrease the quantity of sex bought. While we find that stigma influences the demand for sex, we do not find that stigma increases as a result of the law. Therefore, the possible reduced quantity of sex bought is probably due to the more direct risk of getting caught.

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  1. For more information on the data, see Jakobsson and Kotsadam (2010, 2011), and Kotsadam and Jakobsson (2011).


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Correspondence to Andreas Kotsadam.

Additional information

The project is also part of the research activities at the ESOP center at the Department of Economics, University of Oslo. ESOP is supported by The Research Council of Norway.



See Table 7.

Table 7 Variable description

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Kotsadam, A., Jakobsson, N. Shame on you, John! Laws, stigmatization, and the demand for sex. Eur J Law Econ 37, 393–404 (2014).

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  • Gender
  • Law
  • Norm
  • Prostitution
  • Reputation
  • Sex
  • Stigma

JEL Classification

  • J16
  • J22
  • J23