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Stigmatising Prostitution: Some Evidence from the UK

Author

Listed:
  • Francesca Bettio

    () (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Siena)

  • Marina Della Giusta

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Maria Laura Di Tommaso

    () (Collegio Carlo Alberto, University of Turin)

  • Sarah Jewell

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

Abstract

The question of how to regulate prostitution and whether it is or not a criminal activity has long been debated, and social norms around the sex industry both underpin and reflect the views of participants in the industry as well as those of society: prostitution is seen by some as an activity to be condemned and others as a part of the entertainment industry. Here we present economic models of paid sex and show to what extent they help understand this activity, as well as how they differ from models of crime, and discuss how these models can be used to analyise policy and to what extent they predict what is observed empirically. We then discuss what happens when criminalising prostitution, making use of changes in legislation in the United Kingdom, which moved from a relatively permissive regime under the Wolfenden Report of 1960, to a much harder line of aiming to crack down on porsitution with the Prostitution (Public Places) Scotland Act 2007 and the Policing and Crime Act of 2009 in England and Wales. We make use of two waves of the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal2, conducted in 2000-2001 and Natsal3, conducted in 2010-2012) to investigate the effects of criminalisation on both the amount and composition of demand, and draw some implications on the welfare effects of considering prostitution a form of crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Bettio & Marina Della Giusta & Maria Laura Di Tommaso & Sarah Jewell, 2016. "Stigmatising Prostitution: Some Evidence from the UK," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2016-13, Department of Economics, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2016-13
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    File URL: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/economics/emdp2016130.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marina Della Giusta, 2010. "Simulating the impact of regulation changes on the market for prostitution services," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 1-14, February.
    2. Samuel Cameron & Alan Collins, 2003. "Estimates of a Model of Male Participation in the Market for Female Heterosexual Prostitution Services," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 271-288, November.
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    6. Samuel Cameron, 2002. "The Economics of Sin," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2582.
    7. Di Tommaso Maria Laura & Shima Isilda & Steinar Strom & Bettio Francesca, 2007. "As Bad as it Gets: Well Being Deprivation of Sexually Exploited Trafficked women," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200703, University of Turin.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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