- Numbers don't lie July 15
In 1980, Rhode Island accidentally legalized indoor prostitution, but nobody appeared to notice until a 2003 court case. It took state lawmakers another six years to close the loophole and re-criminalize prostitution. But a new study that examined those six years finds that between 2003 and 2009, there was a "large decrease in rapes" and a "large reduction in gonorrhea" among both men and women.
The researchers, Scott Cunningham at Baylor University and UCLA's Manisha Shah, speculate that the up to 31 percent drop in per capita rape cases was "due to men substituting away from rape toward prostitution," and the drop in sexually transmitted diseases is likely because indoor prostitutes tend to be safer sexually than outdoor ones. "The results suggest that decriminalization could have potentially large social benefits for the population at large — not just sex market participants," wrote Cunningham and Shah. Their working paper was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.- -
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week