Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello


  • Samuel CameronEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_434


This entry looks at the law and economics of sex defined as the exchange of sexual acts which may be intercourse for procreative reasons or various forms of recreational exchange. The key issue in regulation is the matter of consent although this has frequently been attenuated by religious and moral considerations.

Commodity or Service

The economic analysis of sex is to treat it as a commodity or service. This is now reflected in the economic literature on happiness some of which includes frequency of sexual outlets as a determinant of subjective well-being (Blanchflower 2003). Much of early and current literature on the law and economics of sex is concerned with the normative issue of whether prostitution should be legal or not.

Some would take the position that sexual services are inalienable rights which should not be traded. This can also be applied to the selling of one’s eggs or semen to others to overcome infertility. The regulatory issue here is whether money should...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of EconomicsUniversity of BradfordBradfordUK