September 5, 2011

Malconomics

Economist Steven D. "Freakonomics" Levitt reports:
"The fee for a trick varies with the type of sex act, and prostitutes seem to discriminate across clients in order to maximize profit. White men pay $8 to $9 more per trick than black customers, with Hispanic clients paying some amount in between. When bargaining, prostitutes will usually offer a price to a black customer but will make a white man throw out a number first. Repeat customers pay slightly less than new customers."

Too bad prostitutes can't afford to pay for Malcolm Gladwell to address them, because Malcolm would explain to them that, like car salesmen, if only the whores understood that they were unconsciously discriminating, they'd stop leaving money on the table.

78 comments:

Harry Baldwin said...

I read the article and note that the research was done in partnership with Sudhir Venkatesh, who wrote "Gang Leader for a Day," an interesting study of life in the Chicago projects in the late 1980s-early 1990s. It is not clear from this article whether they report the racial breakdown of the prostitutes. According to Venkatesh's book, black prostitutes operating out of the projects charge a bargain price to locals, presumably figuring that it's better to stay busy than price yourself out of the market.

It seems to me (I may be wrong) that a higher percentage of white prostitutes work as "escorts" rather than streetwalkers and thus have a lower arrest rate, which would skew the statistics that the research is drawn from.

Anonymous said...

"White men pay $8 to $9 more per trick than black customers, with Hispanic clients paying some amount in between."

That probably means that Asian guys pay the most.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see my tax momey well spent on vital economic research.
But seriously, this is the type of utter, utter crap that sociological and economic professors call 'academicism'.
In fact, it has less value to society than the proverbial used condom.
If you actually curious to know about this shitty side of life a straightfoward interview with a serial john or an aged madam will tell you more than you need to know.

agnostic said...

They should follow up with just whites and see how hookers discriminate by attractiveness, height, build, or eye, hair, and skin color.

Anonymous said...

This study claims that the discrepancy in reported sexual partners between men and women can be explained by prostitutes. Lots of men visit prostitutes, but then the prostitutes don't end up in surveys (many go to jail, die, get ill, etc.). Men are honest about their number of partners, but reluctant to report these partner include prostitutes too.

Thripshaw said...

I give Gladwell credit for for actually mentioning you at all, even though he politely disagrees with you. Most of the crybabies who shape public opinion wouldn't even use your name for fear of cooties. Oh yeah, and the loony near religious fanaticism with which they suppress heretical speech. I've noticed that when a leftist criticizes Vdare, for example, they usually refuse to link to whatever article they are attacking.

Anonymous said...

Levitt's column makes it plausible that almost all of the prostitutes are black. Perhaps white prostitutes would discriminate the other way. But that would be racist. More study needed.

Robert Hume

Anonymous said...

I read Gladwell's books after reading iSteve for years. I immediately disliked many of his conflicting illogical conclusions, but if I would probably have been sucked in by Gladwell's "genius" and "talent" if I hadn't been schooled out of naivete by Sailer.

By the way, I wonder if Levitt reads Steve's blog?

Anonymous said...

PC and Multi-culturalism in Sweden

Anonymous said...

Please don't refer to any woman as a whore, it's so 19th century.

Anonymous said...

"But perhaps more striking is the rate at which a police officer can extort free sex from a prostitute. Levitt and Venkatesh found that about one in 30 tricks performed by a prostitute is a freebie to the police in return for avoiding arrest. In other words, a prostitute is more likely to have sex with an on-duty police officer than to be arrested by one."

Wow.

Chief Seattle said...

I rarely pay above invoice since I always check the Blue Book for the make and year.

Scott said...

ha ha ha ha

that big companies pay gladwell so much money to share his idiot ratiocinations is yet another reason to get out of stocks and into gold

Anonymous said...

A lot of white escorts will not see black Johns at all, in just the same way that taxi drivers avoid blacks (and for the same reasons).

Kylie said...

Poor Blinkie.

His online rebuttals to Steve remind me of the first, oh, say 62 seconds of this clip:

Blinkie advances on Steve with his idea of an irrefutable argument

He is so sure he is the arbiter of the one, true faith that he cannot conceive Steve would have any weaponry in his arsenal that could dent it, much less destroy it.

Anonymous said...

Why do black men pay more for cars but less for prostitutes? Seems there's something a little more complex than Gladwell failing to see the obvious.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that in Vegas, you get a better deal when you accidentally meet a lady in the hallway than by calling the number on those cards...

Sword said...

"But perhaps more striking is the rate at which a police officer can extort free sex from a prostitute. Levitt and Venkatesh found that about one in 30 tricks performed by a prostitute is a freebie to the police in return for avoiding arrest. In other words, a prostitute is more likely to have sex with an on-duty police officer than to be arrested by one."

So, the police chief who wants to pad the arrest figures of his district should send het female, or gay male, cops to arrest the whores.

Anonymous said...

How much do Asians pay?

With the large amount of single Asian men out there, you'd think they'd have mentioned it.

Of course, Asian guys might just console themselves at home with Hentai and lovedolls.

Jonathan Silber said...

Chief Seattle says: I rarely pay above invoice since I always check the Blue Book for the make and year.

That's all very well, Chief; but do you get the whore to throw in a set of floor mats?

Anonymous said...

From an outsider’s perspective, an $18 per hour wage premium doesn’t seem like a very generous enticement to do such a seemingly rotten job. However, Levitt says that from the prostitutes’ point of view and given the menu of options they have, they must believe that it is a fair compensation because they have chosen this profession.


That's thinking like an economist!

The idea that people might do things for reasons other than those of careful and rational calculation is anathema to economists. Most likely the prostitutes "chose" this profession because their mothers were prostitutes, or because they were coerced into doing it, or some other motivation based on people being the complex and frequently irrational creatures they actually are.

Anonymous said...

if only the whores understood that they were unconsciously discriminating, they'd stop leaving money on the table.

The link says that they are acting rationally by charging as much as different markets will bear. They are not unconsciously discriminating, they decided that wealthier white men can afford to pay more. So goes the theory at any rate.

Anonymous said...

Steve look at this:

Modern Humans Likely Interbred With Extinct Relatives
http://img.ibtimes.com/www/articles/20110906/209268_modern-humans-interbred-with-extinct-relatives.htm

"Our ancient human ancestors may have bred with a now extinct species of humanity before leaving Africa, new research indicates." (emphasis mine)

Can you believe this? Why wouldn't some of the archaic admixture occur beyond Africa? Europeans are 4% Neanderthal and Sub-Saharan Africans are how much again?

NOTA said...

Thinking like an economist, seems to me we can afford to pay the police working on vice detail less money--after all, they're already getting non-monetary compensation.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious how quickly whites were to try and latch on that Asians pay the most.

See us white people don't have to pay the most for whores. Arent we special.

Anonymous said...

Oops, actually read the whole article about archaic admixture. The article talks about both African and Eurasian admixture. My bad.

alonzo portfolio said...

I once knew a young S.F. cop who bragged about extorting blow jobs from prostitutes. Unclear whether you could extrapolate from him, though. The feds eventually got him for selling military ordnance stolen from Ford Ord out of his basement.

regardless said...

As to the "rationality" of engaging in prostitution, here's a real life example. Around 1990, I "dated" a very pretty and healthy-looking 20-year old. I asked her what drugs she used and she said, "you might think less of me." When I assured her it wouldn't matter, she said she was a heroin addict. I asked her how she got into that, and she said her boyfriend was in a band, and it was the cool thing to do so she tried it too. She felt sheepish about trying to be cool.

on the stroll said...

There's a very simple way to test whether a person actually knows anything about prostitution. Just ask: which women are most likely to agree to a request for anal sex, without an exorbitant price premium? The answer is latinas. Your guess is as good as mine.

helene edwards said...

they decided that wealthier white men can afford to pay more.

That might not be it. As you probably know, blacks are very good at wheedling and whining about price. They even do it in retail situations, e.g., I once heard an arab clerk at a Berkeley smoke shop say annoyedly to a black guy, "look, the price for cigarettes is ___ and that's it!" So among whores who agree at all to sex with black men, it could be they just wilt in face of the rhetorical onslaught.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:19, you do even better in Vegas with the strip club freelancers!

Anonymous said...

Whites always give a good tip and probably see white ladies who command a higher rate. $8-9 seems low to me.

ironrailsironweights said...

Several months ago, when I was working in insurance sales, I was eating a hamburger in my car while parked at a small strip mall. A few doors down from the deli where I got my burger was an "Asian Bodywork" parlor. A grossly fat sweaty man in his 60's got out of his car - quite a struggle, mind you - and waddled over to the bodywork parlor, his rolls of fat blobbing out below his too-small filthy T shirt.

I was very curious whether he'd be turned away. To my bemusement, he was still inside the parlor when I finished my food and drove off several minutes later. It would appear that the hookers' desire for money was enough to overcome their sense of revulsion.

Peter

ironrailsironweights said...

Several months ago, when I was working in insurance sales, I was eating a hamburger in my car while parked at a small strip mall. A few doors down from the deli where I got my burger was an "Asian Bodywork" parlor. A grossly fat sweaty man in his 60's got out of his car - quite a struggle, mind you - and waddled over to the bodywork parlor, his rolls of fat blobbing out below his too-small filthy T shirt.

I was very curious whether he'd be turned away. To my bemusement, he was still inside the parlor when I finished my food and drove off several minutes later. It would appear that the hookers' desire for money was enough to overcome their sense of revulsion.

Peter

Anonymous said...

"
With the large amount of single Asian men out there, you'd think they'd have mentioned it.

Of course, Asian guys might just console themselves at home with Hentai and lovedolls."

I'm not so sure this is really the case anymore, or if it will continue to be in future. I'm originally from Austin yet currently work in finance in New York, and have started to see a lot more attractive girls of other ethnicities (though mainly white) dating East Asian guys (though guys usually born State-side) in both cities.

Think about it - they're highly eligible by default (it's automatically assumed that they're bright, well-educated and have an above average income), while the guys who are born and raised here are totally naturalized and differ little in height, behaviour or build from the average white Americans - the only salient difference is that they probably perform a lot better in the classroom.

Jack Grant said...

Steve,
Sounds to me like they're consciously discriminating.
Jack G.

josh said...

I dont get the "blacks pay less" theory.These prostitutes,whatever their IQ's,(and I am guessing that the hooker-who-dropped-out-of-college-while-pursuing-her-PhD is as much a movie myth as the hooker with A)A heart of gold,B)A beautiful face & body)they are certainly street smart,wise in the ways of HBD that a Gladwell just may not be. They know damn well a white guy is preferable to a black guy. A black is more likley to A)Have a bad disease B)Short change you, C) Kill you.Or at least be more likely to engage in violence if things go wrong,and more likely to press the issue if he wants something you dont want to do. Then again because the white man will likely be more "timid",maybe he will be easier to get a few more bucks out of. (Interesting that Eliot Spitzer,I understand, was ALL business & got to the point directly,and I have to admit HE surely paid a premium!!)

Anonymous said...

It seems odd that these sex service workers wouldn't negotiate in much easier to remember prices varying in 5 or 10 dollar increments.

"Of course, Asian guys might just console themselves at home with Hentai and lovedolls."

Let's not forget the size factor. They stay away from prostitutes for fear of being laughed at.

Anonymous said...

A lot of white escorts will not see black Johns at all, in just the same way that taxi drivers avoid blacks (and for the same reasons).

Yep, I've heard this on more than one occasion right from the horse's mouth - while doing scientific research, of course.

Chief Seattle said...

Something far more interesting from an human behavior perspective is why whores gravitate towards abusive pimps. Rational economic theory would say that if a whore needs protection, or marketing that she would turn towards the pimp that gives her the best cut, treats her the best, etc. But time again I read about pimps that enter the relationship by flattering the girl and giving her gifts, but end up taking most of the cash and giving the girls the pimp hand.

The flashy abusive pimp has been a stereotype for gosh knows how long. Back to Dirty Harry at least but I imagine much longer. You might think that with the internet the demand for the pimp would decrease, but there's about a case per year in the local paper about a pimp, behaving like a pimp, getting arrested and leaving behind a gaggle of abused women.

Anyways, that behavior seems far more telling about the darkness of the human psyche than lower the price a few bucks to get a cheap customer in the door.

I'll leave you with this gem from Futurama:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI4de2PcgFQ

Anonymous said...

"The idea that people might do things for reasons other than those of careful and rational calculation is anathema to economists."

No, it's not.

How 'bout a little fire, straw man?

Anonymous said...

Somebody should study the whores in Washington DC and see if they discriminate.

Anonymous said...

"The link says that they are acting rationally by charging as much as different markets will bear. They are not unconsciously discriminating, they decided that wealthier white men can afford to pay more. So goes the theory at any rate."

You don't Get the Joke. Malcolm thought car dealers were leaving money on the table because they charged blacks more, or something.

You know, when you repeat it, it makes even less sense...

beowulf said...

"I'm glad to see my tax momey (sic) well spent on vital economic research."

Err, you do realize the University of Chicago is a private school? The only tax dollars wasted in this story were the wages of the cops getting laid instead of patrolling the streets. A startling frequent occurrence that was uncovered by this research project.

Anonymous said...

In other words, a prostitute is more likely to have sex with an on-duty police officer than to be arrested by one."

Wow.

9/6/11 7:26 AM

My ex-cop buddy -- from a major mid-west city -- told me he was unaware of ANY cop of his knowledge that HADN'T tapped whores.

It's as common as dust.

To believe otherwise is naive.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Please don't refer to any woman as a whore, it's so 19th century."

What's wrong with calling a whore a whore?

Nanonymous said...

"I'm glad to see my tax momey (sic) well spent on vital economic research."

Err, you do realize the University of Chicago is a private school?


Err, you do realize that majority of research funding at private schools comes from public sources, do you? E.g., here is a budget breakdown for U Chicago.

poultry inspector said...

Anyone have a racial breakdown of the cops who accept sex as bribes?

Jack said...

"I'm not so sure this is really the case anymore, or if it will continue to be in future. I'm originally from Austin yet currently work in finance in New York, and have started to see a lot more attractive girls of other ethnicities (though mainly white) dating East Asian guys (though guys usually born State-side) in both cities."

A geeky Asian with a six figure income is still a poorly-endowed Asian with a six figure income. I live in NYC. I have seen a few mediocre looking white girls with Asian guys, but it's really rare. Sorry.

Eric said...

Err, you do realize the University of Chicago is a private school? The only tax dollars wasted in this story were the wages of the cops getting laid instead of patrolling the streets. A startling frequent occurrence that was uncovered by this research project.

I'd bet everything I own most of the money came from the NSF or some similar bureaucracy. Private schools do research but they don't pay for it any more than public schools do do.

Truth said...

"Anyone have a racial breakdown of the cops who accept sex as bribes?"

"My ex-cop buddy -- from a major mid-west city -- told me he was unaware of ANY cop of his knowledge that HADN'T tapped whores."

I think "unaware of ANY...who HADN'T" is a pretty good racial breakdown, isn't is, Chief?

CJ said...

This study is a particular slice of a particular town at a particular point in time. I don't know Chicago, but in Vancouver, B.C. where I now live, once-ubiquitous street prostitution has been reduced to a few dozen hookers in a few localized spots. Why? Because now it's (a) all done over the internet and cell phones or (b) operated inside mostly-East-Asian "massage" parlors. The type of scene described by Levitt simply doesn't exist around here anymore. Of course this town is probably about 1% black, so yeah that could be a factor.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a racial breakdown of the cops who accept sex as bribes?

Does anyone have a gender breakdown of the cops who accept sex as bribes?

Anonymous said...

Think about it - they're highly eligible by default (it's automatically assumed that they're bright, well-educated and have an above average income), while the guys who are born and raised here are totally naturalized and differ little in height, behaviour or build from the average white Americans - the only salient difference is that they probably perform a lot better in the classroom.

Asians are the same height/build as whites? No way. I've seen a few Asians with average looking white girls, but it's rare. An Asian guy has to be really exceptional, like a doctor or a bodybuilder, to do okay with girls.

I don't dislike Asians at all. They're hardworking and dutiful people with low rates of underclass pathologies, but they are super beta. Even skinny white hipsters seem alpha in comparison and, not surprisingly, can do well with Asian girls.

Some of the same stuff applies to Indians and South Asians too.

Anonymous said...

Aside for possible problems with the data (such as external variables relating to customers with different income or different whores or different neighborhoods) the most likely reason for why blacks and whites are charged different amounts at car dealrships and brothels is because of how comfortable the customer is in the discussion. A white guy is likely to feel like he has every right to buy a car but no real right to engage a hooker while the black guy feels precisely the opposite. Hence who's more hustlable where.

As for the coppers, in NOLA they don't even hide it. I spoke to cops and hookers about the subject and no one is the slightest bit shy about the subject. A cop will even leave his beat on Bourbon St to walk a gaggle of hookers home.

It's good to be the king.

Anonymous said...

@Truth.

Heh.

Camlost said...

And don't forget the Tennessee cop who pulled porn star Barbie Cummings in a traffic stop a few years ago. He extorted a blow job from her after discovering that she was a porn star and "finding" illegal prescription drugs in her vehicle.

She mentioned it on her blog and the authorities pursued it. She testified and the guy was fired:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3196477&page=1

David said...

Trying to stir up trouble between Malcolm and the freaks, I see. You are irrepressible, sir.

Anonymous said...

Where is Steve's Sunday VDare column? Is Steve sick? On vacation? In a death camp for tolerance?

I'm getting a sick feeling that Brimelow fired Steve to pay for his somewhat lame website redesign. That would be too bad because Steve is his single most important writer.

By the way, if the Drudge Report doesn't need a redesign, why does VDare? Only content and reputation matter, not superficial tweaks in format. And besides, the new orange and green format reminds me of a Mexican flag. This is $20K NOT well spent.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of BS.

Anonymous said...

Guys use your brains.

White men pay more because they will only buy white whores and white whores charge more.

Black men pay less because they can only get black whores and black whore charge less because their customers have less money.

It is not like the same women are charging blacks less than whites. There are just two different sets of stats. Of course dishonest sociologists just forget to mention this.

Kylie said...

"Something far more interesting from an human behavior perspective is why whores gravitate towards abusive pimps."

I think that's all part of the same spectrum of behavior that you find among prostitutes. I suspect that most women who end up as street whores (as opposed to escorts) have very low self-esteem.

The streetwalkers I knew in my old neighborhood all had very low self-esteem. Any time they had a man in their personal lives, he was always a thieving abuser.

Truth said...

"A black is more likley to A)Have a bad disease B)Short change you, C) Kill you.Or at least be more likely to engage in violence if things go wrong,and more likely to press the issue if he wants something you dont want to do."

Yeah, but at least they get to enjoy the sex on the way out, that's worth a little discount, isn't it?

"The streetwalkers I knew in my old neighborhood all had very low self-esteem."

You mean turning tricks is not a job that attracts the college valedictorian star soccer player from a rich family?

Anonymous said...

Asian men prefer Asian women who tend to work as prostitutes in other arrangements so I doubt there would be much data.

Anonymous said...

"A geeky Asian with a six figure income is still a poorly-endowed Asian with a six figure income. I live in NYC. I have seen a few mediocre looking white girls with Asian guys, but it's really rare. Sorry."

Sorry geeky white guy virgin but check the New York Times wedding announcements. Its full of attractive white girls with attractive Asian guys.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry geeky white guy virgin but check the New York Times wedding announcements. Its full of attractive white girls with attractive Asian guys."

Sorry Angry Asian Male but that's not a representative sample.

I thought you guys were supposed to be GOOD at math, and here you are committing a middle-school-level stat fallacy. Must be worse than we thought...

Ophidian said...

Hmmm...I actually looked up weddings at the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/pages/fashion/weddings/index.html).

Of the listings (about 30) 2 were Asian male, white female. 1 was Asian/Asian. NONE were Asian female, white male. Of course, I looked only at the obvious Asian names (1 was a South Asian female, white male).

Of the Am/Wf announcments that had a picture, I can't say the bride to be was gorgeous, but the guy didn't look geeky either.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous said...

Guys use your brains.

White men pay more because they will only buy white whores and white whores charge more.

Black men pay less because they can only get black whores and black whore charge less because their customers have less money.

It is not like the same women are charging blacks less than whites. There are just two different sets of stats. Of course dishonest sociologists just forget to mention this.


The prostitutes I knew from my hometown transacted business with men of all races. When you need to feed a habit, these kinds of considerations aren't important.

Anonymous said...

Which women are most likely to agree to a request for anal sex, without an exorbitant price premium? The answer is latinas. Your guess is as good as mine.

I've read of a tradition in some Latin cultures of unmarried women offering anal sex to their boyfriends in order to preserve their technical virginity. That's certainly not true of Anglo culture.

Vile practice, BTW.

Cennbeorc

mark said...

I had an affair with a Chinese woman from VN.One thing separates them from most white women, and that is they are not ball busters.They don't want to humiliate their men.
Beware of their male relatives, though. They'll gladly shoot 'em off if you deserve it, that is, you are not rich.

hbd chick said...

@anonymous - "It is not like the same women are charging blacks less than whites. There are just two different sets of stats. Of course dishonest sociologists just forget to mention this."

you are incorrect, anon. it is the same women charging blacks less than whites.

the research article (draft version) is available online, and it shows that the subjects researched were two sets of prostitutes from two different black neighborhoods in chicago. one set worked solo, the other worked for pimps.

these, i'd guess, 100% black prostitutes gave better prices to black customers than to whites, for a couple of different reasons, i think. the black customers were more often repeat customers -- so, you know, you give a discount to good customers. i'd guess they were also from the neighborhood so, again, you know -- support your locals. finally, it's black hookers giving black customers a better rate -- that's not surpising AT ALL. support your own, you know?

hbd chick said...

why do hookers work for pimps? well, according to these guys' findings, the hookers working for pimps earn more -- i think it was 30% more. and they less frequently have to give freebies to cops and gang members.

the interesting thing, i thought, was that most of these women had other jobs. something like 35% of them had jobs in the "formal sector" like retail.

but all of them earned more in from their hooking than from their day-jobs -- like three to four times more. and they only worked, on average, 12 hours a week at hooking. just part-time, iow.

(the data on the racial makeup of the cops must exist, btw, since the race of all the johns, including the freebies, was collected. not in the report, afaics, tho.)

hbd chick said...

btw, the article is totally worth it for the very last few lines on the very last page [pg. 48]. entries #4 & 5. ¡ay, caramba! (i wish i could unread it!)

Anonymous said...

check the New York Times wedding announcements. Its full of attractive white girls with attractive Asian guys.

As we all know, the people who buy New York Times wedding announcements are representative of America's population. From my reading of the announcements, it seems that approximately 25 percent of Americans are physicians. Equal proportions are bankers, lawyers, and corporate managers.

Thankyou for enlightening all of us.

Anonymous said...

If Whiskey moved to Asia, he'd be the alpha.

Truth said...

"If Whiskey moved to Asia, he'd be the alpha."

Eastasia.

Anonymous said...

From my reading of the announcements, it seems that approximately 25 percent of Americans are physicians. Equal proportions are bankers, lawyers, and corporate managers.

And of course, there are no engineers, accountants, and IT types - except for the rare superboss.

beowulf said...

"Err, you do realize that majority of research funding at private schools comes from public sources, do you?"

Fancy pie chart. But what your pie chart neglected to tell you is that when a research paper (unlike this Levitt one) IS funded by public sources, the paper will state that on the acknowledgment page thusly (this is from a Mark Kleiman paper I have handy).
This research was supported under award #2001-IJ-CX-0033 from the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Findings and conclusions of the research reported here are those of the author and do not reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, or of the University of California