Last updated on: 2/1/2008 | Author:

Leah Platt Boustan, PhD Biography

Assistant Professor of Economics at UCLA
Pro to the question "Should Prostitution Be Legal?"

“In order to use labor laws to protect women in the sex industry, the legal status of prostitution and its offshoots–brothel keeping, pimping, soliciting, paying for sex–would need to be re-examined. After all, the Department of Justice does not ensure minimum wages for drug runners or concern itself with working conditions in the Mob. But whether or not we approve of sex work or would want our daughters to be thus employed, the moral argument for condemnation starts to fall apart when we consider the conditions of abuse suffered by real women working in the industry. Criminalization has been as unsuccessful in dismantling the sex industry as it has been in eliminating the drug trade and preventing back-alley abortions. Sex work is here to stay, and by recognizing it as paid labor governments can guarantee fair treatment as well as safe and healthy work environments–including overtime and vacation pay, control over condom use, and the right to collective bargaining.”

“Regulating the Global Brothel” The American Prospect, July 2, 2001

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Assistant Professor, Economics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2006-present
  • Research Associate, California Center for Population Research, 2006-present
  • Alan Nevins Prize for best dissertation in US economic history, Economic History Association, 2006
  • Warren C. Scoville Distinguished Teaching Award, 2006
  • John E. Rovensky Dissertation Fellowship in Business and Economic History, 2005-2006
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University, 2005-2006
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Economic History Association, 2005-2006
  • Doctoral Fellow, Multidisciplinary Program on Inequality and Social
  • Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2002-2006
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2001-2004
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 2000
  • President’s Award for Academic Achievement, Princeton University, 1998
  • PhD, Economics, Harvard University, 2006
  • MA, Economics, Harvard University, 2003
  • AB, Summa Cum Laude, Economics, Princeton University, 2000
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Should Prostitution Be Legal?