‘Pacta Sunt Servanda': Contract Breach and Contract Enforcement in Prostitution
One important question is how relations between sex workers and clients are governed by contracts. Prostitution implies that people are engaged in commercial transactions where physical sexual services are exchanged for money. Because the relationship between a sex worker and his or her client is organized as an exchange, it necessitates a contract. These contracts, however, are virtually always of an incomplete nature. For one thing, written contracts are absent. Also, the incompleteness is strengthened because parties do not even orally agree upon essential aspects of the contract. Usually there is no more than a vague agreement about the price and the services provided. Misunderstandings and disagreements therefore occur frequently. Quite often these disagreements may increase the risk of violence used.
This contribution is built on a quite unique dataset documenting (more than 35,000) exchanges in commercial sexual encounters in the Low Countries (the Netherlands and Belgium). The analysis builds on a quantitative analysis of the causal factors behind these breaches of incomplete contracts. Privileged hypothetical factors are the private and public order institutions allowing for contract enforcement, unilateral enforcing power of contracts, reputation mechanisms and socialization. Estimation is performed with multilevel logit analyses, both random effects Bayesian estimations and fixed-effects regressions.