Does Competition Eliminate Discrimination? Evidence from the Commercial Sex Market in Singapore

39 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Huailu Li

Huailu Li

Fudan University, School of Economics

Kevin Lang

Boston University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kaiwen Leong

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

The street sex worker market in Geylang, Singapore is a highly competitive market in which clients can search legally at negligible cost, making it ideal for testing Diamond's hypothesis regarding search and monopoly pricing. As Diamond predicts, price discrimination survives in this market. Despite an excess supply of workers, but consistent with their self‐reported attitudes and beliefs, sex workers charge whites (Bangladeshis) more (less), based on perceived willingness to pay, and are more (less) likely to approach and reach an agreement with them. Consistent with taste discrimination, they avoid Indians, charge more and reach an agreement with them less frequently.

Suggested Citation

Li, Huailu and Lang, Kevin and Leong, Kaiwen, Does Competition Eliminate Discrimination? Evidence from the Commercial Sex Market in Singapore (June 2018). The Economic Journal, Vol. 128, Issue 611, pp. 1570-1608, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3190739 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12476

Huailu Li (Contact Author)

Fudan University, School of Economics ( email )

Han Dan Lu 220 Hao, 11 Hao Lou, 128 Shi
Shanghai, Shanghai 200433
China

Kevin Lang

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kaiwen Leong

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) ( email )

S3 B2-A28 Nanyang Avenue
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

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