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Do Sex Workers Respond to Disease? Evidence from the Male Market for Sex

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  • Manisha Shah

Abstract

Sex markets play a key role in the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV/AIDS in developing countries. While individuals should substitute away from risky sex as STI prevalence rises, female sex workers draw a premium for engaging in unprotected sex, mitigating their propensity to use condoms. We provide the first evidence of a positive premium for non-condom sex in developing country male sex markets. Testing whether this is a compensating differential for disease risk, we find that a one percentage point increase in the STI rate increases the premium 28 percent. Market forces may curb the self-limiting effect of STI epidemics.

Suggested Citation

  • Manisha Shah, 2013. "Do Sex Workers Respond to Disease? Evidence from the Male Market for Sex," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 445-450, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:445-50
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.445
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Gertler & Manisha Shah & Stefano M. Bertozzi, 2005. "Risky Business: The Market for Unprotected Commercial Sex," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 518-550, June.
    2. Rao, Vijayendra & Gupta, Indrani & Lokshin, Michael & Jana, Smarajit, 2003. "Sex workers and the cost of safe sex: the compensating differential for condom use among Calcutta prostitutes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 585-603, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abel Brodeur & Warn N Lekfuangfu & Yanos Zylberberg, 2018. "War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(5), pages 1540-1576.
    2. Artadi, Elsa & Björkman Nyqvist, Martina & Kuecken, Maria & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2018. "Understanding Human Trafficking Using Victim-Level Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 13279, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Alexander Muravyev & Oleksandr Talavera, 2018. "Unsafe Sex in the City: Risk Pricing in the London Area," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 65(5), pages 528-549, November.
    4. Friedman, Willa Helterline, 2018. "Antiretroviral drug access and behavior change," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 392-411.
    5. Masahiro Shoji & Kenmei Tsubota, 2018. "Sexual Exploitation of Trafficked Children: Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Papers 175, JICA Research Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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