Publication: Can the legal framework for prostitution influence the acceptability of buying sex?
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Objectives: This article analyses the extent to which the legal framework for prostitution can influence the moral judgments individuals make about purchasing sex. We hypothesize that the decriminalization of prostitution (versus the criminalization of purchasing sexual services) increases the acceptability of buying sex. Methods: To test this hypothesis we conduct a factorial survey experiment (FSE) for a Spanish sample. Various descriptions (vignettes) of hypothetical scenarios regarding prostitution in Spain were presented to the respondents to elicit them to form judgements about the acceptability of purchasing sexual services (by a man from a woman) in each of these scenarios. Results: From the analysis carried out with multilevel models, robust and causal empirical evidence was obtained in favor of this hypothesis. This result was moderated by some of the contextual variables presented in the vignettes and by some personal characteristics of the respondents. Conclusions: Different legal approaches to the sex industry can influence attitudes towards purchasing sexual services
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