Police complicity in organized crime is not uncommon, yet it is extremely difficult to examine empirically. Using unique sex transaction data from China, we show that police can be complicit in organized prostitution. Specifically, we document that sauna houses and massage parlors with greater neighborhood police density are likely to be “protected” by police and thus can host higher-risk, higher-penalty sex business. The complicity effect is particularly salient during periods of local prostitution crackdowns, implying selective enforcement. Changes in local leadership and visits of the central government’s discipline teams can attenuate the complicity effect.
“Environmental economics has become a hot topic recently, so I am very honoured to be entrusted by the Faculty’s management to be a pioneer in this field. Through education, I hope I can also open a new research area for aspiring young scholars to join the academia.”
Dr. Guojun He is an economist specialised in environmental economics and development economics. Grasping the opportunity to spearhead the line of research related to environmental and economic policies in HKU, Dr. He had officially joined us in July 2021 as an Associate Professor in Economics.