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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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Cameron, S. (2021). Sex. In: Marciano, A., Ramello, G.B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Law and Economics. Springer, New York, NY.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4614-7883-6

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Chapter History

  1. Latest

    10 September 2021


  2. Original

    13 August 2018