Prostitution Labor Supply and Education

28 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2010 Last revised: 22 Jul 2016

Date Written: July 21, 2016


We analyze the relationship between education and criminal behavior based on a survey of nearly 700 North American female escorts who provide (typically illegal) prostitution services. Nearly 40%, of the women in our sample report college completion. College-educated women are less likely to see clients in any given week and do not earn higher average hourly wages. However, conditional on seeing any clients, college-educated prostitutes see more clients and provide longer client sessions. We demonstrate that these results are consistent with a model in which college-educated prostitutes have better outside options to prostitution, but are also able to reduce the marginal disutility of prostitution work by attracting fewer unpleasant clients and by combining sexual services with non-sexual services such as companionship, where college education may be productive.

Keywords: Crime, Prostitution, Labor, Education

JEL Classification: I18, K42, Z18

Suggested Citation

Cunningham, Scott and Kendall, Todd David, Prostitution Labor Supply and Education (July 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Scott Cunningham (Contact Author)

Baylor University ( email )

One Bear Place #98003
Waco, TX 76798
United States
254-710-4753 (Phone)
254-710-6142 (Fax)


Todd David Kendall

Compass Lexecon ( email )

United States

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