One Asymmetric Information Problem That the Internet Will Not Solve

A young woman in England wants to sell something unusual to fund her college education.

We wrote in Freakonomics about how the increased access to information provided by the Internet has helped consumers overcome the historical information advantage that real estate agents and life insurance salespeople have had.

This is one case, however, in which information asymmetry is alive and well. (Dubner blogged on a related subject a while back.)

(Hat tip: Alon Nir.)


egretman

This entire subject requires a closer examination.

giromide

Nigerian. I'm convinced everyone posting web sites and sending email to me is Nigerian.

frankenduf

I'll take it if it's buy 1 get 1 free

majikthise

Link dead.

aardvarkious

Sites down- anyone care to enlighten us?

kahomono

She's offering for sale... her virginity.

This is news? Read a ketubah: Jewish women have been selling that for a very specific price for a long, long time.

I bought one once. It's not what it's cracked up to be.

TheBigDuck

Jewish women have been selling that for a very specific price for a long, long time.

I bought one once. It's not what it's cracked up to be.

It's better than bacon!

kahomono

It's better than bacon!

Eh. Not.

davidshabtai

For those who weren't sure: a ketubah is not a bill of sale. It is a document that states the husband's and wife's responsibilities and obligations to each other.
All women require a ketubah - virgin or not - including second marriages, etc.

kahomono

OK, Rebbe, why is there a different form of the ketubah for non-virgins? (All first marriages are presumptive virgin marriages -- for women only.)

Why is the woman's virginity obsessively mentioned -- each time her name is mentioned -- in the first-marriage form?

Why does Exodus (ch. 22) set a price on female virginity? Why does Deuteronomy (ch. 22) offer the husband a double-or-nothing guarantee if he thinks he was hoodwinked?

For that matter, why did the girl in the BBC story find a buyer? As pricing for prostitutes goes, £10,000 for a night with a soi-disant utterly inexperienced courtesan seems wayyyy outta whack.

SOMEBODY cares about virginity, for whatever atavistic reason. You can pretend that the plain words in front of your face mean something else but it doesn't change that anthropological fact.

thepetfly

I wonder, if someone could prove she wasn't a virgin is that false advertising?

makeitrain

She's not going to get a taker at that price. (Well, since it's her virginity, maybe...)

Seriously...some cable network did a survey back in 1998-99 (wish I could remember which, and get my hands on a copy...) where they approached a large enough sample of American women to be representative sample, and found a very sensitive, polite way to ask, in $500 increments I suppose; for what sum of money would you be willing to sleep with a strange man tonight that you would meet only later that evening?

Threshold prices for a 'yes' answer varied, but 80% of the women surveyed said ultimately said they'd do it for $10,000 (or some lesser four-figure sum, of course, that some of them had already agreed upon at some point during the survey). After that amount, a diminishing return factor kicked in: the sum got drastically higher before you'd get a few more 'yesses'. Certainly some of that twenty percent are either genuinely religious types or in such a deeply committed love relationship with someone that they won't do it at any price. (Margin of error works both ways. Sure, there's the ones who'll say yes and not really mean it, but there's the ones who'll say 'no' but might come across if you made it a serious offer and actually put the money on the table...).

Lesson? You can have the woman of your dreams, or a reasonable facsimile, for an evening, anyway; for ten grand. (There's also your answer to the question, what's the absolute maximum the services of a call girl could possibly be worth...)

Can virginity be worth that much more?

Read more...

kahomono

According to the story on the site she did get a taker at £10,000 (not $10,000, more like $20,000).

Virginity strikes a primitive chord in male humans... first one in with the sperm gets some kind of advantage in the Great DNA Race?

egretman

This entire subject requires a closer examination.

giromide

Nigerian. I'm convinced everyone posting web sites and sending email to me is Nigerian.

frankenduf

I'll take it if it's buy 1 get 1 free

majikthise

Link dead.

aardvarkious

Sites down- anyone care to enlighten us?

kahomono

She's offering for sale... her virginity.

This is news? Read a ketubah: Jewish women have been selling that for a very specific price for a long, long time.

I bought one once. It's not what it's cracked up to be.

TheBigDuck

Jewish women have been selling that for a very specific price for a long, long time.

I bought one once. It's not what it's cracked up to be.

It's better than bacon!