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The Economics of the Commercial Sex Industry

A report by Ahlburg, D and Jensen, E. Commercial sex is a service and the non-price determinants of the demand for commercial sex are the same as for other commodities or services: the number of potential consumers, their preferences and incomes, the prices of other commodities and services, and perhaps their expectations of future prices and income. Since males, particularly single or divorced males, are the main demanders of commercial sex, an increase in their numbers can increase the demand for commercial sex. An increase in the numbers of postpubertal males can occur or a number of reasons, including high median age at marriage, prolonged postpartum abstinence, and migration and other factors that cause unbalanced sex ratios

The authors examine the economics of demand and suggest that it is not clear whether demand rises or falls, respectively, when men’s income rises. It has been noted that the price of a condom may be high relative to the price of commercial sex. In the case of low-priced sex work,which is the bulk of the market. For the customer, a condom can increase the cost of sex by 10 per cent to 20 per cent or more, if available and be equal to 25 per cent of her profit. As a result, reductions in the price of condoms are likely to have an impact on the supply of safe sex in lower-income countries and among lower-income groups within countries.


Economics and Development application-pdf-7358307The Economics of commercial sex.pdf


Ahlburg, D and Jensen, E.