When the Economists Arrive, Do the Prostitutes Leave?

I was walking outside the American Economic Association meetings this past Sunday when a man stopped me and asked what all the university professors were doing in one place.  I told him that it was the annual convention of economists, and got a hearty laugh by telling him the old joke that when the economists arrived in town, the prostitutes left.  This joke is a good illustration: the arrival of economists represents a decrease in demand; the prostitutes’ leaving represents a decrease in the amount supplied.  I don’t know the shape of the supply curve, however, so I can’t speculate about the size of the change, if any, in the equilibrium price. But the joke does suggest that the equilibrium quantity transacted decreased.


jh

Anecdotally, however, a friend of mine was solicited by a prostitute while checking out of his hotel on Sunday

Gene

I am having a hard time deciding which is the inferior good in this scenario---the economists or the prostitutes. :)

nobody.really

Oh, *I* get it.

We can't tell if the prostitutes are leaving because
-- they're afraid there won't be any business, or
-- they're afraid that there will!

Chris S

I would surmise that the prostitute supply curve might be a very nice shape.

RGJ

Did the economists actually arrive? Or are they in Alabama with Telephone Pole Anna?

Marc

Years ago I was at a USENIX comptuting conference, and was staying at a hotel down the street from the conference hotel. As I was heading into the conference hotel, a woman asked me "Do you have the time?" Without thinking, I glanced at my watch, told her what time it was, and walked into the conference hotel. About a minute later, it dawned on me what she was *really* asking, and grabbed some friends, and went with them to an overlooking window, where we laughed uproriously while we watched at least a dozen other conference attendees dutifully glancing at their watches and telling her the time on their way into the hotel.

Gene

If the Efficient Markt Hypothesis is correct then the economists should not see any prostitutes on the street. Someone would have picked them up already.

Mike B

I would guess it is because they are sick of being pestered about informal economy studies.

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