Does Competition Eliminate Discrimination? Evidence from the Commercial Sex Market in Singapore
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The street sex worker market in Geylang, Singapore is a highly competitive market in which clients can search legally at negligible cost, making it ideal for testing Diamond’s hypothesis regarding search and monopoly pricing. As Diamond predicts, price discrimination survives in this market. Despite an excess supply of workers, but consistent with their self-reported attitudes and beliefs, sex workers charge Caucasians (Bangladeshis) more (less), based on perceived willingness to pay, and are more (less) likely to approach and reach an agreement with them. Consistent with taste discrimination, they avoid Indians, charge more and reach an agreement with them less frequently.
NBER Working Paper Series
© 2015 National Bureau of Economic Research. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by NBER Working Paper Series, National Bureau of Economic Research. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.3386/w20911].