This story is a great example of how institutions can shape incentives, in order to change outcomes.
The women of Barbacoas, Colombia have ended a three-month, 19-day “crossed legs” strike of sexual abstinence aimed at getting a road to their isolated town paved, after officials pledged to invest in the project.
The money quote is:
“The men’s first reaction was laughter, because they found the way we were protesting very curious,” Silva said.
Then reality set in, and work on the road finally began last week as the government had promised.
Now, my question is – is this optimal or not?
On one side, the women were signaling the high value they place on the project through their actions – and are in one sense trading sex for a road.
On the other hand, the women are in a position of power – and are changing the bargaining position so that they can extract more surplus from this trade.
Truly, there is economics everywhere