When banks fail, do prostitutes win?

Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh of Freakonomics and Gang Leader for a Day fame thinks so: One thing I’ve learned is that economic downturns can be boom times for high-end sex workers. Sex workers of the past waited on street corners, outside bars, and around parks, and their transactions were fleeting and usually for a few dollars. ...

Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh of Freakonomics and Gang Leader for a Day fame thinks so:

One thing I've learned is that economic downturns can be boom times for high-end sex workers. Sex workers of the past waited on street corners, outside bars, and around parks, and their transactions were fleeting and usually for a few dollars. Today's high-end sex workers see themselves as therapists, part of a vast metropolitan wellness industry that includes private chefs and yoga teachers. Many have regular clients who visit them several times per month, paying them not only for sex but also for comfort and affirmation.

The cost may be thousands of dollars for an evening of leisure. Few people outside of the corporate work force can afford this price tag. And, in good times, Wall Street came calling. [...]

Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh of Freakonomics and Gang Leader for a Day fame thinks so:

One thing I’ve learned is that economic downturns can be boom times for high-end sex workers. Sex workers of the past waited on street corners, outside bars, and around parks, and their transactions were fleeting and usually for a few dollars. Today’s high-end sex workers see themselves as therapists, part of a vast metropolitan wellness industry that includes private chefs and yoga teachers. Many have regular clients who visit them several times per month, paying them not only for sex but also for comfort and affirmation.

The cost may be thousands of dollars for an evening of leisure. Few people outside of the corporate work force can afford this price tag. And, in good times, Wall Street came calling. […]

But bad times seem not so bad either, at least in the short run. […] In my study, approximately half of the sex workers I have been following (150) work in the high-end sector. Nearly all of them tell me that this pattern of increased activity following an economic downturn lasts about six to eight months. "They get tapped out," [one sex worker] told me.

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