As The Economist finds, the internet is making the buying and selling of sex easier and safer (from what we have been told). But it's not all Pretty Woman... not only is the oldest profession in the world seeing prices going down (the dreaded deflation) as the shift online has boosted supply by drawing more locals into the trade; but as the following four charts show, rates vary dramatically by 'services', ethnicity, geography, build, and bust size.
Prostitution by the numbers... (Via The Economist)
The most striking trend our analysis reveals is a drop in the average hourly rate of a prostitute in recent years.
Our analysis shows how a prostitute’s hourly rate varies according to the nature of the services she provides and her reported physical characteristics. As in other bits of the economy, clients who seek niche services must pay more. Sex workers who offer anal sex or spanking earn on average $25 or $50 more per hour, respectively (see chart 2). Those who will accept two male clients at once or do threesomes with another woman command a larger premium.
Appearance matters a great deal. The customers who reported encounters to the website we analysed clearly value the stereotypical features of Western beauty: women they describe as slim but not scrawny, or as having long blonde hair or full breasts, can charge the highest hourly rates (see chart 3). Hair that is bleached too unconvincingly to be described as blonde attracts a lower premium, but is still more marketable than any other colour. For those not naturally well endowed, breast implants may make economic sense: going from flat-chested to a D-cup increases hourly rates by approximately $40, meaning that at a typical price of $3,700, surgery could pay for itself after around 90 hours. The 12% share of women featured on the site who are described both as athletic, slim or thin, and as being at least a D-cup, suggests that quite a few have already taken this route.
A prostitute’s rates also vary according to her ethnicity and nationality. What attracts a premium in one place can attract a penalty in another. According to our analysis, in four big American cities and London, black women earn less than white ones (see chart 4).
We had too few data from other cities for a reliable breakdown by ethnicity. But Christine Chin of the American University in Washington, DC, has studied high-end transnational prostitutes in several countries. In Kuala Lumpur, she found, black women command very high rates and in Singapore, Vietnamese ones do. In Dubai, European women earn the most. What counts as exotic and therefore desirable varies from place to place, and depends on many factors, such as population flows.
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So do the patriotic thing... because everyone knows deflation is a killer...