Vice Squad
Friday, July 21, 2006
Just When You Thought It Was Safe

Yes, now that the statute has run I have returned from 6 months abroad. Good to be back in civilization after having to rough it for so long. Working by candlelight, I was able to put together a short paper (pdf format) entitled "Regulating Commercial Sex." If SSRN doesn't reject it, you should be able to download it (29 page pdf) here. I'll append the abstract for those who are more discriminating:

´╗┐The robustness principle for vice regulation (Leitzel, 2005, available here) suggests that public policy towards addictive or vicious activities engaged in by adults should be robust with respect to departures from full rationality. That is, policies should work pretty well if everyone is well-informed and completely rational, and policies should work pretty well even if many people are occasionally (or frequently) irrational in their vice-related choices. To work well, policies must deal effectively with the standard vice concerns surrounding kids, addicts, externalities, and costs imposed upon adult, non-addicted participants. This paper applies the robustness principle to prostitution and pornography. These forms of commercial sex cannot be prohibited for adults under a regulatory regime consistent with the robustness principle, though public manifestations of these activities can be controlled. Policies aimed at promoting informed rational decision making, including mandatory waiting periods prior to pornography performance and other sex work, and the explicit provision of consent for risky commercial sex undertakings, also are consistent with or required by robustness.

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