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Sex Workers, Self-Image and Stigma: Evidence from Kolkata Brothels

Author

Listed:
  • Ghosal, Sayantan

    (University of Glasgow)

  • Jana, Smarajit

    (Sonagachi Research and Training Institute)

  • Mani, Anandi

    (Blavatnik School Of Government)

  • Mitra, Sandip

    (Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata)

  • Roy, Sanchari

    (University of Sussex)

Abstract

This paper empirically examines the role of self-image in determining the behaviour and choices of socially excluded individuals. Using a randomized field experiment with sex workers in Kolkata, India, we study the impact of a psychological training program designed to improve self-image impaired by social exclusion and stigma. We find positive and significant impacts on self-reported measures of self-image, as well as on future-oriented behaviour measured by savings and health choices during and after the program. We also find persistence in related savings outcomes fifteen months after the program. Our experimental design and findings enable us to rule out several alternative explanations. We argue that our findings highlight the need to address psychological constraints in alleviating the effects of poverty and social exclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghosal, Sayantan & Jana, Smarajit & Mani, Anandi & Mitra, Sandip & Roy, Sanchari, 2016. "Sex Workers, Self-Image and Stigma: Evidence from Kolkata Brothels," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 302, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:302
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/302-2016_mani.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Laajaj,Rachid & Macours,Karen, 2017. "Measuring skills in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8000, The World Bank.
    2. Christopher Blattman & Julian C. Jamison & Margaret Sheridan, 2017. "Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Liberia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1165-1206, April.
    3. Artadi, Elsa & Björkman Nyqvist, Martina & Kuecken, Maria & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2018. "Understanding Human Trafficking Using Victim-Level Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 13279, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-image; social exclusion; stigma; future-orientation; savings; sex workers; India JEL Classification: O12; I30; D87;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics

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