Markets in everything

by on January 14, 2008 at 10:18 am in Law | Permalink

A prostitute is more likely to have sex with a police officer than to get officially arrested by one.

That’s from the new Levitt-Venkatesh paper, hat tips to Matt Yglesias and Kerry Howley, both of whom add interesting commentary.

Robert Olson January 14, 2008 at 10:58 am

Well, that sentence made my day.
I wonder if the same applies to owners of doughnut shops. Heheheheh

This also was interesting: “Where pimps are active, prostitutes appear to do
better, with pimps both providing protection and paying efficiency wages.”
Common perception is that pimps exploit women and make them work for nothing, no?

And “Proximity to train stations, major roads, and many
households on public assistance are all positively related to prostitution arrests; an
abundance of female-headed households is negatively related”
That second part is interesting. What is the mechanism that accomplishes that? I would’ve guessed that higher incidence of female-headed households might be related to poverty, which would shift the supply of prostitutes outward.

infopractical January 14, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I know that much of the work of researchers is great, but I classify this alongside the “study” that came out in 2003 saying that video games are addicting. These aren’t studies adding to the general body of knowledge. These are studies to make stupid and/or willfully blind people see the world as it is.

I suppose I’m not really criticizing the economists here. Perhaps informing people of the obvious is part of their legitimate role in society. In fact, that’s probably more productive, on average, than adding to the general body of knowledge. It just seems odd to me that we need economists playing that role.

Anonymous January 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm

How would you define an unofficial arrest?

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