IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bpj/bejeap/v12y2012i1n22.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Economic Returns to Good Looks and Risky Sex in the Bangladesh Commercial Sex Market

Author

Listed:
  • Islam Asadul

    () (Monash University)

  • Smyth Russell

    () (Monash University)

Abstract

This study examines the economic returns to beauty and unprotected sex in the commercial sex market in Bangladesh. The results show that there is a beauty premium for commercial sex work, but it is within the bounds of the economic returns to beauty for women in occupations that do not involve sex work. We find that there is an earnings premium for sex workers who sell unprotected sex and that more attractive sex workers charge a higher premium for unprotected sex. This result is consistent with more attractive people being better placed to bargain with others and with male clients being more likely to overvalue the returns to immediate sexual gratification and to engage in risk taking activities in the presence of attractive sex workers. The results are robust to alternative empirical specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Islam Asadul & Smyth Russell, 2012. "The Economic Returns to Good Looks and Risky Sex in the Bangladesh Commercial Sex Market," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:12:y:2012:i:1:n:22
    DOI: 10.1515/1935-1682.3059
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1515/1935-1682.3059
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marina Giusta & Maria Tommaso & Steinar Strøm, 2009. "Who is watching? The market for prostitution services," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 501-516, April.
    2. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
    3. Raj Arunachalam & Manisha Shah, 2008. "Prostitutes and Brides?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 516-522, May.
    4. Anderson, T W & Kunitomo, Naoto & Sawa, Takamitsu, 1982. "Evaluation of the Distribution Function of the Limited Information Maximum Likelihood Estimator," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1009-1027, July.
    5. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2008. "Beauty, gender and stereotypes: Evidence from laboratory experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-93, February.
    6. Trevon D. Logan & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 529-564, January.
    7. Jonathan Robinson & Ethan Yeh, 2011. "Transactional Sex as a Response to Risk in Western Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 35-64, January.
    8. Chul-In Lee, 2001. "Finite Sample Bias In Iv Estimation Of Intertemporal Labor Supply Models: Is The Intertemporal Substitution Elasticity Really Small?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 638-646, November.
    9. Peter G. Moffatt & Simon A. Peters, 2004. "Pricing Personal Services: An Empirical Study of Earnings in the UK Prostitution Industry," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(5), pages 675-690, November.
    10. Samuel Cameron & Alan Collins & Neill Thew, 1999. "Prostitution services: an exploratory empirical analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(12), pages 1523-1529.
    11. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    12. 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.
    13. McAlvanah, Patrick, 2009. "Are people more risk-taking in the presence of the opposite sex?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 136-146, April.
    14. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hiroyuki Yamada & Yuki Kanayama & Kanako Yoshikawa & Kyaw Wai Aung, 2020. "Risk attitude, risky behavior, and price determination in the sex market: A case study of Yangon, Myanmar," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2020-013, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.
    2. Mavisakalyan, Astghik, 2018. "Do employers reward physical attractiveness in transition countries?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 38-52.
    3. Astghik Mavisakalyan, 2016. "Looks matter: Attractiveness and employment in the former soviet union," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1604, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    4. Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Sex and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 26-32.
    5. Dilmaghani, Maryam, 2020. "Beauty perks: Physical appearance, earnings, and fringe benefits," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C).
    6. Masahiro Shoji & Kenmei Tsubota, 2018. "Sexual Exploitation of Trafficked Children: Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Papers 175, JICA Research Institute.
    7. Islam, Asad & Smyth, Russell & Tan, HongQi Alexis & Wang, Liang C., 2019. "Survey measures versus incentivized measures of risk preferences: Evidence from sex workers' risky sexual transactions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 238(C), pages 1-1.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Trevon D. Logan & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 529-564, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Niklas Jakobsson & Andreas Kotsadam, 2013. "The law and economics of international sex slavery: prostitution laws and trafficking for sexual exploitation," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 87-107, February.
    4. Scott Cunningham & Todd D. Kendall, 2017. "Prostitution, hours, job amenities and education," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 1055-1080, December.
    5. Andreas Kotsadam & Niklas Jakobsson, 2014. "Shame on you, John! Laws, stigmatization, and the demand for sex," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 393-404, June.
    6. Wilson, Nicholas, 2017. "The World’s Oldest Profession? Employment-Age Profiles from the Transactional Sex Market," GLO Discussion Paper Series 77, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Guilhem Bascle, 2008. "Controlling for endogeneity with instrumental variables in strategic management research," Post-Print hal-00576795, HAL.
    8. Perrotta Berlin, Maria & Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Immordino, Giovanni & F. Russo, Francesco, 2019. "Prostitution and Violence: Evidence from Sweden," SITE Working Paper Series 52, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, revised 25 Jun 2020.
    9. Peter Egger & Andreas Lindenblatt, 2015. "Endogenous risk-taking and physical appearance of sex workers," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(9), pages 941-949, December.
    10. Cunningham Scott & Kendall Todd D, 2011. "Men in Transit and Prostitution: Using Political Conventions as a Natural Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-20, June.
    11. Immordino, G. & Russo, F.F., 2015. "Regulating prostitution: A health risk approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 14-31.
    12. Samuel Lee & Petra Persson, 2012. "Human Trafficking and Regulating Prostitution," Working Papers 12-07, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    13. Jakobsson, Niklas & Kotsadam, Andreas, 2009. "What explains attitudes toward prostitution?," Working Papers in Economics 349, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. Cunningham, Scott & Kendall, Todd D., 2011. "Prostitution 2.0: The changing face of sex work," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 273-287, May.
    15. Della Giusta, Marina & Di Tommaso, Maria Laura & Jewell, Sarah & Bettio, Francesca, 2019. "Quashing Demand Criminalizing Clients? Evidence from the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 12405, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Della Giusta, Marina & Di Tommaso, Maria Laura & Bettio, Francesca & Jewell, Sarah, 2018. "Criminalising clients: some evidence from the UK," MPRA Paper 91480, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Paul J. Gertler & Manisha Shah, 2011. "Sex Work and Infection: What's Law Enforcement Got to Do with It?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 811-840.
    18. Francesca Bettio & Marina Della Giusta & Maria Laura Di Tommaso & Sarah Jewell, 2016. "Stigmatising Prostitution: Some Evidence from the UK," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2016-13, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    19. Jonathan Robinson & Ethan Yeh, 2012. "Risk-Coping through Sexual Networks: Evidence from Client Transfers in Kenya," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 107-145.
    20. Matthew Quaife & Peter Vickerman & Shanthi Manian & Robyn Eakle & Maria A. Cabrera‐Escobar & Sinead Delany‐Moretlwe & Fern Terris‐Prestholt, 2018. "The effect of HIV prevention products on incentives to supply condomless commercial sex among female sex workers in South Africa," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(10), pages 1550-1566, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:12:y:2012:i:1:n:22. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: https://www.degruyter.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.