Monday, March 27, 2006

Behind the Green Door

Looks like I'm well behind the times. I guess one way to get students excited to take econ classes is to not only talk about porn but to show it.

Linda Williams, a film professor at Berkeley, lines up on the side of showing rather than simply telling. While researching feminist reactions to porn in the early '90s, she grew fascinated by the choreography of dirty movies and began teaching a trailblazing course about porno films. "I'm quite critical of pornography," she says.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In Da Club

My paper, entitled "In Da Club: An Econometric Analyis of Strip Club Patrons", is now available here.

Conservative estimates from the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS) suggest 17 million Americans went to a club that featured nude or semi-nude dancers in 1991. Their attendance comprises nearly 67 million visits, 10 million more than the attendance at major league baseball games that year. A recent report by the Free Speech Coalition (2005), and recent testimony in front of the Ohio legislature by an industry advocate, Angelina Spencer, put the total revenues earned by strip clubs at 15 billion dollars a year (Smyth, 2005; Thompson, et. al., 2003). The industry arrived at this point following a doubling of the number of strip clubs between 1987 and 1992 according to Hanna (2005). Yet there has been no academic work covering this industry by economists.

In this paper I estimate a hurdle model using the NHSLS which is the first and only national probability based sample which asks people about their sexual behavior including if they have attended a strip club and the frequency of attendance. Using the hurdle model I test two popular theories which purport to explain the rapid increase in the number of clubs. I find that for those who reported changing their behavior in response to AIDS/HIV they were much more likely to go to a strip club and more frequent visitors than those who did not change their behavior. On the second explanation I fail to find support for the belief that attendance at strip clubs was motivated by the desire to escape the uncertain rules of a gender integrated work place. The rise of societal sensitivities to sexual harassment in the workplace does not appear to explain patron attendance at a strip club.

It is a very rough draft, more like some regressions and some random thoughts. Comments welcome.