A Theory of Prostitution

Posted: 23 Jan 2002  

Lena Edlund

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Evelyn Korn

University of Marburg - School of Business & Economics

Abstract

Prostitution is low-skill, labor intensive, female, and well paid. This paper proposes a marriage market explanation to this puzzle. If a prostitute compromises her marriage market prospects, she will have to be compensated for forgone marriage market opportunities. We discuss the link between poverty and prostitution and show that prostitution may decrease with male income if wives and prostitutes are drawn from the same pool of women. We point to the role of male sex ratios, and males in transit, in sustaining high levels of prostitution, and we discuss possible reasons for its low reputation and implications for marriage patterns.

Suggested Citation

Edlund, Lena and Korn, Evelyn, A Theory of Prostitution. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 110, February 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=295069

Lena Edlund (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-5489 (Phone)
212-854-8059 (Fax)

Evelyn Korn

University of Marburg - School of Business & Economics ( email )

Universitätsstr. 24
D-35037 Marburg
Germany
++49 6421 2823902 (Phone)
++49 6421 2828944 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/mikro

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
4,650