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Exchange and Condom Use in Informal Sexual Relationships in Urban Kenya


  • Luke, Nancy


This article investigates whether a market for unsafe sexual activity exists among nonmarital, noncommercial sexual relationships in a high HIV/AIDS environment. The exchange of money for sex without a condom is well known within commercial sexual partnerships, but it is unclear from the previous evidence whether markets can emerge among noncommercial relationships as well. I use data on nonmarital sexual partnerships and transfers from Kisumu, Kenya, to investigate this question. I define and measure transfers as material items given by a male to his female sexual partner, including money and nonmonetary items, such as gifts, meals, and rent. I find a strong negative relationship between the level of transfers and condom use after controlling for male fixed effects and other important female and partnership characteristics. I also find that nonmonetary transfers have the same relationship with condom use as monetary transfers. Furthermore, I test the assumption that adolescent girls are particularly disadvantaged within informal partnerships, where men can offer remarkably small amounts of money or gifts in exchange for sex without a condom. Contrary to this popular assumption, the results reveal that the trade-off between transfers and condom use does not differ between partnerships involving adolescent girls and adult females.

Suggested Citation

  • Luke, Nancy, 2006. "Exchange and Condom Use in Informal Sexual Relationships in Urban Kenya," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 319-348, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:y:2006:v:54:i:2:p:319-48

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ulin, Priscilla R., 1992. "African women and AIDS: Negotiating behavioral change," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 63-73, January.
    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.
    3. Wojcicki, Janet Maia & Malala, Josephine, 2001. "Condom use, power and HIV/AIDS risk: sex-workers bargain for survival in Hillbrow/Joubert Park/Berea, Johannesburg," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-121, July.
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    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7310 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Fiorella, Kathryn J. & Camlin, Carol S. & Salmen, Charles R. & Omondi, Ruth & Hickey, Matthew D. & Omollo, Dan O. & Milner, Erin M. & Bukusi, Elizabeth A. & Fernald, Lia C.H. & Brashares, Justin S., 2015. "Transactional Fish-for-Sex Relationships Amid Declining Fish Access in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 323-332.
    3. TENIKUE Michel & TEQUAME Miron, 2018. "Economic and Health Impacts of the 2011 Post-Electoral Crisis in Côte d?Ivoire: Evidence from Microdata," LISER Working Paper Series 2018-03, LISER.
    4. Ishida, Kanako & Arnold, Michael & Stupp, Paul & Kizito, Paul & Ichwara, Jared, 2012. "Exploring the connections between HIV serostatus and individual, household, and community socioeconomic resources: Evidence from two population-based surveys in Kenya," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 185-195.
    5. 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.
    6. Dunkle, Kristin L. & Jewkes, Rachel & Nduna, Mzikazi & Jama, Nwabisa & Levin, Jonathan & Sikweyiya, Yandisa & Koss, Mary P., 2007. "Transactional sex with casual and main partners among young South African men in the rural Eastern Cape: Prevalence, predictors, and associations with gender-based violence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 1235-1248, September.
    7. Burke, Marshall & Gong, Erick & Jones, Kelly, 2011. "Income shocks and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa:," IFPRI discussion papers 1146, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Marshall Burke & Erick Gong & Kelly Jones, 2015. "Income Shocks and HIV in Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(585), pages 1157-1189, June.
    9. Mojola, Sanyu A., 2011. "Fishing in dangerous waters: Ecology, gender and economy in HIV risk," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 149-156, January.
    10. Djemaï, Elodie, 2008. "Is the risk taking of HIV-infection influenced by income uncertainty? : Empirical Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 11731, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Dupas, Pascaline & Robinson, Jonathan, 2012. "The (hidden) costs of political instability: Evidence from Kenya's 2007 election crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 314-329.

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