Marina Adshade

Economist, Writer, and Speaker | Women, sex, love, and work

Month: February 2011

Why Are Escorts So Well Paid?

If the average escort selling sex in the US worked 2,000 hours a year, her income would place her in the top 0.5% of the earnings distribution.

It continues to be a mystery as to why women are earning an average of $280 per hour to do, essentially, what the rest of us do for free. You may want to argue that their jobs are risky in terms of violence, disease and arrest, but if risk explained the high earnings then the women doing the riskiest sex work, those walking the streets, would earn more. Of course, they earn much less, only about $27 per hour.

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Sweden’s Approach to the Sex Trade: Let the Buyer Beware

Sometime I wonder why there isn’t more creative energy applied to finding solutions to social problems that have been created by the proliferation of the sex trades. The debate around policy appears to be driven by those with political (and moral) agendas in such a way that two distinct camps have emerged: those who favor criminalization and those who favor legalization. Neither of these extreme approaches completely solves the problem of violence and exploitation of the women and men who operate on these markets. And so we have resigned ourselves to a debate over which policy minimizes the harm, while shrugging off the possibility of eliminating it all together.

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What Transmen Tell Us About Inequality in the Workplace

In her memoir, accomplished economic historian (and my personal hero) Deirdre McCloskey, relates the conversation in which she informed her dean that she planned to transition from man to woman.* At the time, the dean joked that the change would be great for affirmative action (“one more woman, one less man!”) and meant that he would only have to pay her 70% of her current salary. I don’t think Prof. McCloskey was amused by the comment, but as her book reveals that was only the beginning of discovering what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated profession.

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How Do I Love Thee? Let Social Psychology Count the Ways

How romantic are you? Here is a test used by academic psychologists to measure the tendency individuals have toward love. Once you determine your score, you can compare your level of romance to the national average for 48 different countries to see where in the world you would best fit in romantically.

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Boob Jobs Indicate a Perkier Economy

In December I raised the question: Can watching the market for sex toys predict a recession? In that post I suggested the increased demand for lubricants in 2009 might reflect the need for a cheap means to feel good in hard economic times and that, if this is the case, then perhaps lubricant sales figures could be used as a leading indicator of recessions. I said that that time that the real test of the validity of a lubricant leading indicator would be to observe if sales went limp in the recovery.

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Sexual Disenfranchisement Fuels Civil Unrest in Egypt

After listening to an interview on CBC Radio yesterday with the young Egyptian lawyer, Mohamed Badr, who was speaking out about his treatment in the hands of police after being taken into custody for participating in the protest against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, I was particularly struck by the reason he gave for his defiance. He told the interviewer (through a translator):

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Marriage Reinforces an Economic Class System

It is fairly well known that at the end of the marriage market couples seem to be tidily sorted over characteristics such as income, education, religion, height, beauty and even weight. And, of course, online dating sites allow singles to limit their search for the perfect mate according to these criterions. New economic research suggests that singles might appreciate being able to filter their searches even further – to potential partners whose parents have similar wealth levels as their own.

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How Can We Define Marriage?

Did you know that in the world of Wikipedia the word “marriage” is classified as a “contentious issue?” The page has been protected, on and off, for the last four years for excessive levels of vandalism and edit-warring. I found this out for myself a few years ago when I was misquoted on the page and had to ask the editors to make a correction.

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When Is a Prostitute Not a Prostitute?

When I was much younger, and sufficiently ill-informed that I didn’t have to think about the harsh realities of life, I was very much in favour of the legalization of prostitution. It wasn’t because I believed that a woman has a right to sell her body, in fact I saw little difference between protecting a woman’s right to sell it and man’s right to buy it, it was because I didn’t think it was fair to punish some women for doing explicitly what so many other women were doing implicitly.

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