Ladies' Day at the Beach


The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas boasts the Moorea Club, which it advertises as offering a European-style beach, with entry limited to ages 21 and over.

It does not advertise that the price of day use is $50 for male customers and $10 for female customers. While examples of price discrimination are ubiquitous, this is one of the purest examples of demand-based price discrimination. The service the club offers is the same to men and women: a place in the sun, which is equally costly to the club regardless of the patron’s gender.

Presumably, women’s price elasticity of demand for the pleasures of the club exceeds that of men, justifying the price differential. As a vacation spot, I’m not impressed with the Moorea Club, preferring a real beach in Europe. But I suppose the overall cost of going to an artificial European beach in Vegas is less, as there’s no need to buy a trans-Atlantic air ticket. To me this Club is useful, though; it offers one of the most clear-cut examples of this type of price discrimination.

(Hat tip: DJH)


It's like Ladies Night at the bar. The pricing is not so much about the elasticity of male demand but the supply of women at the beach: men go where the women are. I'll bet they don't charge attractive women at all, without letting that be known.

Go to a nightclub with a beautiful woman. The bouncers open the rope as she approaches so you don't even slow down to get in. It's not you they're letting in but her and the reason they let her in is so all the other guys can be in the room with her - even if they have no shot.


There's always the fact that the value of the beach to men is posivitely correlated to the number of women using the club...hint hint European Style bathing is a euphemism...


Actually, a ticket to Europe isn't that expensive if you know when and where to look. No more than a ticket to Vegas I'd imagine.


Perhaps, in true European style, they also allow topless patrons, or more exactly patronesses. That would help explain the gender-based price disparity.


An alternative, though somewhat related, explanation is that the club is simply trying to increase its ratio of female to male patrons. This strategy would be similar to that used by dancing-type clubs; allow girls to enter without paying cover or waiting in line-- more girls makes the club more attractive to guys and thus they are willing to pay a premium to get in.


Uh, Quin, I think that's the point...


Number 1 is right. There is a particular positive externality with women at the beach and thus it makes sense for the Club to subsidize their presence there. Lowering the cost of women to use the beach effectively encourages women with lower reservation values to attend, thus creating a "socially optimal" beach allocation.

Robert Myers

Not sure what "price elasticity of demand" means, but I would assume the difference is designed to get more women in, thereby attracting more men at the higher price, the same way bars and clubs offer ladies nights with cheaper drinks and a lower cover charge. Since 'European-style beach" most likely means "clothing optional", the lower price for women would be a major selling point. I'm surprised they don't advertise the price more blatantly.


um, that's exactly the implication of this article and the reason for the difference in prices...


gotta love this :) Most entertainment from age 21 - 40 invovles some sort of price male/female price discrimination. Except for movie theatres where you are charged the same regardless of gender, but will charge different prices for age.


Quin hit it on the head - they offer topless sunbathing.

a student of economics

"The service the club offers is the same to men and women...Presumably, women's price elasticity of demand for the pleasures of the club exceeds that of men, justifying the price differential"

Dan strikes me as pretty smart guy so maybe he's writing this tongue in cheek.

The difference in prices has very little, if anything to do with the differences in "price elasticity of demand" or else they'd just drop the women entirely and admit more men. It has everything to do with the positive externality from maintaining or increasing the ratio of women in the club, which is entirely different thing.


wait, women are PAYING $10 bucks to be models and men are paying 50 bucks to go to a clean topless bar?

I see a disparity and it looks like the women are getting ripped off.


"European style bathing". I believe that's what American's call "topless" bathing isn't it?

I wonder if the women at the Mandalay Bay realise that the hotel is complicit in allowing men, who are willing to pay, access to a peep show in which they are the main attraction?


I don't know about anybody else, but to me, living in the UK, 'European style bathing' just means a cold windy beach with grey skies.


This just in... men will pay to look at women's breasts. Thanks Mr. Hamermesh for your insight.


nancy has a very good point


Public indecency laws in America have always astounded me. We outlaw just enough to drive a massive conglomorate machine that sells what we were all born with, free of charge. Indecency laws don't protect our children, they commoditize our bodies and our reproductive necessities. What are people paying for at this "beach experience"? The ability to be naked? Definitely not privacy. Some pay big bucks just to sneak a peek. Ridiculous!

Meanwhile, the disney channel sells our kids sexual morés daily, disguising it as "family entertainment", thus perpetuating the cycle. . .


Just how, exactly, is there "price discrimination" in this practice?

Isn't it equally probable that -- adjusted for different psychologies -- the male and female prices are equivalent?

This may be a case in which supply and demand are peripheral to the price mechanism. Or else, two completely separate supply-and-demand contexts are in play -- meaning there is no rationality in the underlying economics, except that of the vendor.

As a male I wouldn't presume to know how women think. Still, it seems logical to wonder how much of contemporary economic theory might be undermined by something so simple as gender differences in the perception of value.


So, I'm failing to see how this is useful. Useful for whom? The hotel who's running this scheme?

It's definitely not useful to the pocketbooks of guys who want to hang out with ladies, that's for sure.