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Gender Equity and Prostitution: An Investigation of Attitudes in Norway and Sweden

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This contribution assesses attitudes toward prostitution in Norway and Sweden, where it is illegal to buy sex. Sweden's law was put into place in 1999, and Norway followed in 2009. These laws were embedded in different market structures and discourses when enacted. This study uses a 2008 Internet survey to shed light on attitudes toward various aspects of prostitution while controlling for other socio-demographic factors. Findings include that men and sexual liberals of either gender are more likely positive toward prostitution and men and women who are conservative or support gender equality are more negative. Holding anti-immigration views correlates with more positive attitudes toward buying, but not selling, sex. Norwegians are more positive than Swedes toward prostitution. Supporting gender equality has more explanatory power in Sweden than in Norway, which may be due to the use of gender equality to frame the Swedish debate.
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Keywords: Attitudes; JEL Codes: I28, J88, K14; norms; prostitution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Norwegian Social Research, P.O. Box 3223 Elisenberg, N-0208, Oslo, Norway 2: Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg, Box 640 Gothenburg, SE-405 30, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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