The cover feature of this week’s Economist – bearing the headline “More bang for your buck” – explores how new technology is shaking up the world’s oldest profession.
Noting how specialist websites and apps are allowing “information to flow between buyer and seller”, the magazine has conducted an economic analysis of what this “wealth of data” reveals.
The Economist Intelligence Unit has crunched data on prostitutes’ prices, services and personal characteristics gleaned from an [anonymous] international website which hosts 190,000 profiles of female sex workers operating from 84 cities in 12 countries:
[Prostitution] turns out to be surprisingly similar to other service industries. Prostitutes’ personal characteristics and the services they offer influence the prices they charge; niche services attract a premium; and the internet is making it easier to work flexible hours and to forgo a middleman.