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What is more important for prostitute price? Physical appearance or risky sex behavior?


  • Chang, Hung-Hao
  • Weng, Yungho


Using a unique random survey of prostitutes in Taipei city of Taiwan, this study investigates the association between obesity, condom use and prostitutes’ price. Results show that overweight prostitutes charge less for their services. However, prostitutes charge more for performing risky sex regardless of the weight status. By further looking at weight and height, we found that the price of prostitutes is only associated with weight.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang, Hung-Hao & Weng, Yungho, 2012. "What is more important for prostitute price? Physical appearance or risky sex behavior?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 480-483.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:117:y:2012:i:2:p:480-483 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.06.041

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johnston, David W., 2010. "Physical appearance and wages: Do blondes have more fun?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 10-12, July.
    2. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
    3. Adela de la Torre & Arthur Havenner & Katherine Adams & Justin Ng, 2010. "Premium sex: Factors influencing the negotiated price of unprotected sex by female sex workers in Mexico," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 13, pages 67-90, May.
    4. Berri, David J. & Simmons, Rob & Van Gilder, Jennifer & O'Neill, Lisle, 2011. "What does it mean to find the face of the franchise? Physical attractiveness and the evaluation of athletic performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 200-202, June.
    5. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
    6. Rao, Vijayendra & Gupta, Indrani & Lokshin, Michael & Jana, Smarajit, 2003. "Sex workers and the cost of safe sex: the compensating differential for condom use among Calcutta prostitutes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 585-603, August.
    7. Philip K. Robins & Jenny F. Homer & Michael T. French, 2011. "Beauty and the Labor Market: Accounting for the Additional Effects of Personality and Grooming," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 25(2), pages 228-251, June.
    8. Fletcher, Jason M., 2009. "Beauty vs. brains: Early labor market outcomes of high school graduates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 321-325, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Egger & Andreas Lindenblatt, 2015. "Endogenous risk-taking and physical appearance of sex workers," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(9), pages 941-949, December.
    2. S. Baert & L. Decuypere, 2014. "Better sexy than flexy? A lab experiment assessing the impact of perceived attractiveness and personality traits on hiring decisions," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(9), pages 597-601, June.

    More about this item


    Obesity; Risky sex; Prostitute price; Taiwan;

    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior


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