Sunday, January 13, 2008
A couple of interesting posts on legalizing prostitution. First, there is evidence that condom use in the legalized brothels of Nevada is extremely high, whereas it is quite low among illegal prostitutes. Adding to the problem for illegal prostitutes, they apparently have to give "freebies" to police and others to avoid arrest or violence in illegal settings.
Given this, one might ask why legalized prostitution is so rare. This paper uses public choice analysis to conclude that illegal prostitution continues in places like Las Vegas because of "lower employment costs
for casino and hotel owners due to kick backs received by hotel
employees from prostitutes and their customers, the interests of rural
governments to maximize revenues from tourism generated by brothels,
and the interest of Las Vegas legislators to portray the town as
family-friendly maintains the status quo of illegality." Even if the rural areas of Nevada where prostitution is legal, apparently it is "stunted by unequal
bargaining power between the prostitutes and brothel owners owing to
collusive arrangements with local sheriffs."
In the end, then, the illegality of prostitution in Nevada appears to be due to one version of a bootleggers and baptists story.
Hat tip: Marginal Revolution and Instapundit.