Sex Work and Online Platforms: What Should Regulation Do?

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

24 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2021

See all articles by Nick Cowen

Nick Cowen

School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln; New York University School of Law

Rachela Colosi

University of Lincoln

Date Written: October 23, 2020

Abstract

Purpose: Assess the impact of online platforms on the sex industry, focusing specifically on direct sex work, and evaluate what approaches to platform regulation is likely to align with the interests of sex workers.

Design/methodology/approach: A review of interdisciplinary conceptual and empirical literature on sex work combined with analysis of key issues using a transaction cost framework.

Findings: Online platforms generally make sex work safer. Regulation aimed at preventing platforms from serving sex workers is likely to harm their welfare.

Research limitations/implications: Regulation of online platforms should take great care to differentiate coercive sex from consensual sex work, and allow sex workers to experiment with governance mechanisms provided by entrepreneurs.

Originality/value: The paper demonstrates how a transactions costs approach to market behavior as applied to personal services like ridesharing can also shed light on the challenges that sex workers face, partly as a result of criminalization, and the dangers of over-regulation.
Introduction

Keywords: Sex Work, Transaction Costs, Online Platforms, FOSTA-SESTA, Feminism, Common Carriers

JEL Classification: L14, L86, L84, E26, Y80

Suggested Citation

Cowen, Nick and Colosi, Rachela, Sex Work and Online Platforms: What Should Regulation Do? (October 23, 2020). Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3717638

Nick Cowen (Contact Author)

School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln ( email )

Lincoln LN2
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://ulincoln.academia.edu/NickCowen

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.nyu.edu/

Rachela Colosi

University of Lincoln ( email )

Lincoln
United Kingdom

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