The Effect of Sexual Activity on Wages

by on August 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

Kevin Lewis refers me to the following (pdf), which is the abstract of a paper by Nick Drydakis:

The Effect of Sexual Activity on Wages
The purpose of this study is to estimate whether sexual activity is associated with wages, and also to estimate potential interactions between individuals’ characteristics, wages and sexual activity. The central hypothesis behind this research is that sexual activity, like health indicators and mental well-being, may be thought of as part of an individual’s set of productive traits that affect wages. Using two stage estimations we examine the relationship between adult sexual activity and wages. We estimate that there is a monotonic relationship between the frequency of sexual activity and wage returns, whilst the returns to sexual activity are higher for those between 26 and 50 years of age. In addition, heterosexuals’ sexual activity does not seem to provide higher or lower wage returns than that of homosexuals, but wages are higher for those health-impaired employees who are sexually active. Over-identification tests, robustness checks, falsification tests, as well as, decomposition analysis and sample selection modelling enhance the study’s strength. Contemporary social analysis suggests that health, cognitive and non-cognitive skills and personality are important factors that affect the wage level. Sexual activity may also be of interest to social scientists, since sexual activity is considered to be a barometer for health, quality of life, well-being and happiness. The paper adds to the literature on the importance of unobserved characteristics in determining labour market outcomes.
I wonder what an MRU video devoted to this topic would look like.

1 Dismalist August 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

It has always been apparent that sex is good: Now we have statistical confirmation! That’s great.

2 prior probability August 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Shouldn’t the question be “the effect of wages on sexual activity”?

3 Marie August 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

That’s a pretty darned good point, too.

4 dearieme August 17, 2013 at 5:15 pm

How do they measure sexual activity?

5 FC August 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Did they control for sexual activity with the subjects’ bosses?

6 Marie August 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm

That’s brilliant! And might actually be a factor!

7 Urstoff August 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm

So I should show this to my wife?

8 steve August 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

Along with a large paycheck, yes.

9 Kabal August 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

The paper has a misleading title–implies a causative relationship.

Even the abstract describes it as a mere association without any hint of causation.

10 LemmusLemmus August 18, 2013 at 4:30 am

I dunno, but if I didn’t even understand central terms in an abstract (such as, oh, “two stage estimations” or “returns”), I probably wouldn’t comment on it.

11 Kabal August 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

You got me, kind of–not so much a lack of understanding as it was carelessness–I didn’t see “two stage estimations” upon a quick skim, which is probably the most evincing phrase in the abstract.

12 LemmusLemmus August 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Happens to the best.

13 CdnExpat August 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm

It’s too easy to write papers. Bad papers, especially.

14 Non Papa August 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

And he dared to use the word “whilst” in the abstract!

15 Marie August 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

” In terms of policy implications, access to effective, broadly-based sexual health education could be an important contributing factor to the health and well-being of people. ”

Stupid layperson here, but I’m not taking as science the work of folks who think government programs are needed to get people to have sex with each other.

16 Thor August 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

C’mon, don’t be so old fashioned!

17 mulp August 17, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Why can’t economists do research on something like how minimum wage workers can get rich by working hard?

Like working out the optimal budgets for the working poor to prove that it is easy to become a rich capitalist by choosing to invest more wisely than government and retiring so wealthy Social Security and Medicare are not needed.

After all, the most common thing to make people wealthy is finding a way to lower wages.

18 Saturos August 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Is this another paper with “effect” in the title which actually only finds a correlation?

19 Ray Lopez August 17, 2013 at 11:17 pm

But this paper is contradicted by other studies that show unemployed people are more sexually active than employed people. I guess you can reconcile the two papers, if they are accurate, by saying that amongst the employed, the sexually active workers make more money, but between the two classes of unemployed and employed people, the former are more sexually active than the latter. Tags: XXX, Marginal Revolution, sex

20 Tom Hynes August 18, 2013 at 12:34 am

Page 11: “Higher wages may pay for gifts that are thanked for via sex.”

Does anyone have a cynical yet creative comment on this concept?

21 TomHynes August 18, 2013 at 12:36 am

Page 11: “Higher wages may pay for gifts that are thanked for via sex”

Does anyone have a cynical yet creative comment on this concept?

22 Tim Worstall August 18, 2013 at 6:04 am


Good looking people have more sex.

Good looking people make higher wages.

We know that both of these are true: so why any surprise at the idea that people who have more sex get higher wages?

23 Richard August 18, 2013 at 10:15 am

Sex is associated with wages? Finally, a plausible explanation for why wages can get sticky.

24 anon August 18, 2013 at 3:21 pm


25 snark August 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm


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