Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Lewis Davis

Second Advisor

Lori Morso




prostitution, feminist, harms, relationship, social


Prostitution is often debated as an illegal activity that causes individual and social harms. This study uses feminist theories on prostitution in conjunction with econometric tools to find if prostitution can actually reduce social harms such as rape. Prostitution is a highly debated subject within feminist literature, as some believe prostitution is considered legitimate work, while others view prostitution as extremely harmful toward women and an act that perpetuates female submission. This econometric study adds to the feminist debate on prostitution by implementing the internet’s role in expanding the indoor market as a potential causal factor in the relationship between prostitution and social harms. This study concludes that there is a clear, negative, and statistically significant relationship between prostitution and rape in America. However, the role that the internet plays in this negative relationship is unclear and calls for further interpretation and research.