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

  • Jonathan Robinson
  • Ethan Yeh

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.

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/47/1/107
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 47 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 107-145

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:i:1:p:107-145
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Raj Arunachalam & Manisha Shah, 2008. "Prostitutes and Brides?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 516-22, May.
  2. Anne Case & Alicia Menendez, 2011. "Requiescat in Pace? The Consequences of High-Priced Funerals in South Africa," NBER Chapters, in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 351-373 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robinson, Jonathan & Yeh, Ethan, 2008. "Transactional Sex as a Response to Risk in Western Keny," MPRA Paper 7350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. 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.
  5. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
  6. Robinson, Jonathan & Dupas, Pascaline, 2009. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt34w0w53t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  7. 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.
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