In Da Club: An Econometric Analysis of Strip Club Patrons


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 investigate a popular theory which purports 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. 

Very Preliminary version here [pdf]

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