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Risk-Coping through Sexual Networks: Evidence from Client Transfers in Kenya

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  • Jonathan Robinson
  • Ethan Yeh

Abstract

Why do women engage in transactional sex? While much of the explanation is that sex-for-money pays more than other jobs, we use a unique panel data set constructed from 192 self-reported diaries of sex workers in Western Kenya to show that women who supply transactional sex develop relationships with regular clients, and that these clients send transfers in response to negative income shocks. Regular clients are the primary source of interperson insurance that women receive, and women report in a separate survey that client transfers are an important reason that they participate in the market.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:i:1:p:107-145
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    Cited by:

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    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Wilson Nicholas, 2019. "The World’s Oldest Profession? Employment-Age Profiles from the Transactional Sex Market," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-17, June.
    5. 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.
    6. 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, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
    7. Levine, David & Polimeni, Rachel & Ramage, Ian, 2016. "Insuring health or insuring wealth? An experimental evaluation of health insurance in rural Cambodia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 1-15.
    8. Carole Treibich & Eleanor Bell & Elodie Blanc & Aurélia Lépine, 2022. "From a drought to HIV: An analysis of the effect of droughts on transactional sex and sexually transmitted infections in Malawi," Post-Print hal-03818619, HAL.
    9. 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.
    10. Pascaline Dupas & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Impacts and Determinants of Health Levels in Low-Income Countries," NBER Working Papers 22235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jones, Kelly & Gong, Erick, 2021. "Precautionary savings and shock-coping behaviors: Effects of promoting mobile bank savings on transactional sex in Kenya," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    12. He, Guojun & Peng, Wenwei, 2022. "Guns and roses: Police complicity in organized prostitution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 207(C).
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Gong, Erick & de Walque, Damien & Dow, William H., 2019. "Coping with risk: Negative shocks, transactional sex, and the limitations of conditional cash transfers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).

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