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Transactional Sex as a Response to Risk in Western Keny

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  • Robinson, Jonathan
  • Yeh, Ethan

Abstract

Formal and informal commercial sex work is a way of life for many poor women in developing countries. Though sex workers have long been identified as crucial in affecting the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the nature of sex-for-money transactions remains poorly understood. Using a unique panel dataset constructed from 192 self-reported sex worker diaries which include detailed information on sexual behavior, labor supply, and income shocks, we find that sex workers adjust their supply of risky, better compensated sex to cope with unexpected income shocks, exposing themselves to increased risk of HIV infection. In particular, women are 3.2% more likely to see a client, 21.7% more likely to have anal sex, and 20.6% more likely to have unprotected sex on days in which a household member falls ill. Women also increase their supply of risky sex on days after missing work due to STI symptoms. Given that HIV prevalence has been estimated at 9.8% in this part of Kenya, these behavioral responses entail significant health risks for sex workers and their partners, and suggests that sex workers are unable to cope with income risk through other formal or informal consumption smoothing mechanisms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 7350.

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Date of creation: 26 Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7350

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  1. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Samuel Lee & Petra Persson, 2012. "Human Trafficking and Regulating Prostitution," Working Papers, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics 12-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  2. Pascaline Dupas & Sarah Green & Anthony Keats & Jonathan Robinson, 2012. "Challenges in Banking the Rural Poor: Evidence from Kenya's Western Province," NBER Working Papers 17851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robinson, Jonathan, 2008. "Limited Insurance Within the Household: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," MPRA Paper 8314, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. de Walque, Damien & Dow, William H. & Gong, Erick, 2014. "Coping with risk : the effects of shocks on reproductive health and transactional sex in rural Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6751, The World Bank.
  5. Joël CARIOLLE, 2014. "Corruption in Turbulent Times: a Response to Shocks?," Working Papers P106, FERDI.
  6. Nicholas Wilson, 2010. "Economic Growth and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic: Evidence from the Early 21st Century Copper Boom," Center for Development Economics, Department of Economics, Williams College 2011-04, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  7. de Walque, Damien & Dow, William H. & Medlin, Carol & Nathan, Rose, 2012. "Stimulating demand for AIDS prevention : lessons from the RESPECT trial," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5973, The World Bank.
  8. Nicholas Wilson, 2010. "Antiretroviral Therapy and Demand for HIV Testing: Evidence from Zambia," Center for Development Economics, Department of Economics, Williams College 2011-01, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  9. Robinson, Jonathan & Yeh, Ethan, 2011. "Risk-coping through sexual networks : evidence from client transfers in Kenya," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5582, The World Bank.
  10. Serieux, John E. & Munthali, Spy & Sepehri, Ardeshir & White, Robert, 2012. "The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on HIV and AIDS Programs in a High Prevalence Country: The Case of Malawi," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 501-515.
  11. Manda, Constantine, 2013. "Bang for Your Buck: STI Risk and Pregnancy Risk as Sources of the Price Premium for Unprotected Sex," MPRA Paper 52864, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Dupas, Pascaline & Robinson, Jonathan, 2012. "The (hidden) costs of political instability: Evidence from Kenya's 2007 election crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 314-329.
  13. Wilson, Nicholas, 2012. "Economic booms and risky sexual behavior: Evidence from Zambian copper mining cities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 797-812.
  14. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Daily Needs, Income Targets and Labor Supply: Evidence from Kenya," NBER Working Papers 19264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Joël CARIOLLE, 2014. "Corruption in Turbulent Times: a Response to Shocks?," Working Papers P106, FERDI.

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