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A Human Capital Methodology For Estimating The Lifelong Personal Costs Of Young Women Leaving The Sex Trade


  • Linda DeRiviere


This article combines case study interviews with the tools of economic cost-benefit analysis to estimate the lifelong effects for individuals in Manitoba, Canada, who began engaging in prostitution as youths. The empirical findings reveal that sex workers retain only a small portion of their earnings from prostitution after feeding drug addictions and third-parties extortions of net residual earnings. The sex-trade worker typically suffers from debilitating addictions and health conditions that are symptomatic of the stress and danger of engaging in this lifestyle. After leaving prostitution, the former sex worker faces major challenges in rejoining the mainstream labor market. The issues engender multiple reasons for policy-makers to direct their attention to counteracting the conditions of vulnerability that bring youth into this lifestyle and, thereby, effectively disrupting the supply of sex workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda DeRiviere, 2006. "A Human Capital Methodology For Estimating The Lifelong Personal Costs Of Young Women Leaving The Sex Trade," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 367-402.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:12:y:2006:i:3:p:367-402
    DOI: 10.1080/13545700600670434

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    References listed on IDEAS

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

    1. Sonnabend, Hendrik, 2015. "Good Intentions and Unintended Evil? Clients’ Punishment in the Market for Sex Services with Voluntary and Involuntary Providers," EconStor Preprints 110682, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    2. Martin Lauren & Lotspeich Richard, 2014. "A benefit-cost framework for early intervention to prevent sex trading," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, January.

    More about this item


    Youth sex trade; Aboriginal women; cost-benefit methodology; women's health and addictions; earnings differentials; human capital; JEL Codes: I12; J15; J24;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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