A couple of weeks ago, somebody made a comment on my Facebook Page about the supply and demand for Thai hookers, in response to my post about upward-sloping demand curves of course:
Does this have to hold over the entire domain of comparable commodities? Because within the $2 to $10 range of Thai hookers the demand goes up with the price, falling somewhere northing[sic] of $20. The idea being that you don’t [redacted] something that costs $2 when the $10 hooker looks cleaner.
Lovely. Not necessarily incorrect, just…yeah. In any case, I was primed to be thinking about the economics of Thai hookers as a result of this, and so naturally an article about an economics professor running a Thai sex tourism web site caught my attention:
As a Cal State Northridge associate professor, Kenneth Ng spends his days teaching students the principles of economics: markets, monetary policy, interest rates.
But in his free time, Ng focuses on a very different kind of market: sex tourism in Thailand.
For the past year, Ng has been running a Web site that offers insights into the Thai bar scene, such as where to meet beautiful women and how to negotiate fees for their services.
Ng, who has worked at California State University, Northridge, for nearly half of his 50 years, never actively advertised his moonlighting gig to his students or academic colleagues.
Score one for the “markets in everything” category. Also, my response to the Facebook comment, in case you are curious:
I was thinking about this (granted, not in the context of Thai hookers, but I do see your point), and it does seem intuitively reasonable that a decent proportion of goods that exhibit this behavior would do so only over a limited range of prices. With the Thai hookers specifically, I think you would get the upward-sloping result because you’re taking price as a signal of quality moreso than because you want to show the more expensive hooker off to your friends. I acknowledge that this logic may be reversed if said hooker is a gift for someone else, since getting a friend the cheap hooker is just tacky.