IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/7350.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Transactional Sex as a Response to Risk in Western Keny

Author

Listed:
  • Robinson, Jonathan
  • Yeh, Ethan

Abstract

Formal and informal commercial sex work is a way of life for many poor women in developing countries. Though sex workers have long been identified as crucial in affecting the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the nature of sex-for-money transactions remains poorly understood. Using a unique panel dataset constructed from 192 self-reported sex worker diaries which include detailed information on sexual behavior, labor supply, and income shocks, we find that sex workers adjust their supply of risky, better compensated sex to cope with unexpected income shocks, exposing themselves to increased risk of HIV infection. In particular, women are 3.2% more likely to see a client, 21.7% more likely to have anal sex, and 20.6% more likely to have unprotected sex on days in which a household member falls ill. Women also increase their supply of risky sex on days after missing work due to STI symptoms. Given that HIV prevalence has been estimated at 9.8% in this part of Kenya, these behavioral responses entail significant health risks for sex workers and their partners, and suggests that sex workers are unable to cope with income risk through other formal or informal consumption smoothing mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Robinson, Jonathan & Yeh, Ethan, 2008. "Transactional Sex as a Response to Risk in Western Keny," MPRA Paper 7350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7350
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/7350/1/MPRA_paper_7350.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/7405/1/MPRA_paper_7405.pdf
    File Function: revised version
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raj Arunachalam & Manisha Shah, 2008. "Prostitutes and Brides?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 516-522, May.
    2. Colin Camerer & Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein & Richard Thaler, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(2), pages 407-441.
    3. Emily Oster, 2005. "Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Behavior, and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 120(2), pages 467-515.
    4. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1993. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing, and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investment in Bullocks in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 223-244, April.
    5. Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "An Empirical Analysis of the Daily Labor Supply of Stadium Vendors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 360-392, April.
    6. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 64(3), pages 311-335.
    7. Oster, Emily, 2012. "HIV and sexual behavior change: Why not Africa?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-49.
    8. Jeremy Magruder, 2011. "Marital Shopping and Epidemic AIDS," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1401-1428, November.
    9. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-1085, December.
    10. Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2007. "You Can't Save Alone: Commitment in Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in Kenya," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 251-282, January.
    11. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 2002. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 51-70, March.
    12. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2007. "Do Workers Work More if Wages Are High? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 298-317, March.
    13. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
    14. Chetty, Raj & Looney, Adam, 2006. "Consumption smoothing and the welfare consequences of social insurance in developing economies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2351-2356, December.
    15. Mary Kay Gugerty, 2007. "You Can't Save Alone: Commitment in Rotating Savings and Credit Associations in Kenya," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55, pages 251-282.
    16. Jonathan Robinson, 2012. "Limited Insurance within the Household: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 140-164, October.
    17. 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.
    18. Dunkle, Kristin L. & Jewkes, Rachel K. & Brown, Heather C. & Gray, Glenda E. & McIntryre, James A. & Harlow, Siobán D., 2004. "Transactional sex among women in Soweto, South Africa: prevalence, risk factors and association with HIV infection," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(8), pages 1581-1592, October.
    19. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 163-192, January.
    20. Pascaline Dupas, 2011. "Do Teenagers Respond to HIV Risk Information? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-34, January.
    21. 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.
    22. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and Labor Supply: The Case of New York City Taxi Drivers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1069-1082, June.
    23. 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.
    24. Paxson, Christina H, 1992. "Using Weather Variability to Estimate the Response of Savings to Transitory Income in Thailand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 15-33, March.
    25. Anjini Kochar, 1999. "Smoothing Consumption by Smoothing Income: Hours-of-Work Responses to Idiosyncratic Agricultural Shocks in Rural India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 50-61, February.
    26. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
    27. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Is Tomorrow Another Day? The Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 46-82, February.
    28. Karim, S.S.A. & Ramjee, G., 1998. "Anal sex and HIV transmission in women," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 88(8), pages 1265-1266.
    29. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
    30. Kochar, Anjini, 1995. "Explaining Household Vulnerability to Idiosyncratic Income Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 159-164, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Dupas, Pascaline & Robinson, Jonathan & Saavedra, Santiago, 2020. "The daily grind: Cash needs and labor supply," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 399-414.
    4. Gaurav, Sarthak, 2015. "Are Rainfed Agricultural Households Insured? Evidence from Five Villages in Vidarbha, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 719-736.
    5. Alam, Shamma Adeeb, 2015. "Parental health shocks, child labor and educational outcomes: Evidence from Tanzania," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 161-175.
    6. Berloffa, Gabriella & Modena, Francesca, 2013. "Income shocks, coping strategies, and consumption smoothing: An application to Indonesian data," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 158-171.
    7. Liu, Kai, 2016. "Insuring against health shocks: Health insurance and household choices," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 16-32.
    8. Stefan Dercon, 2002. "Income Risk, Coping Strategies, and Safety Nets," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank, vol. 17(2), pages 141-166, September.
    9. Somville, Vincent & Vandewalle, Lore, 2023. "Access to banking, savings and consumption smoothing in rural India," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 223(C).
    10. Henry S. Farber, 2014. "Why You Can't Find a Taxi in the Rain and Other Labor Supply Lessons from Cab Drivers," Working Papers 583, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. Farber, Henry S, 2014. "Why You Can't Find a Taxi in the Rain and Other Labor Supply Lessons from Cab Drivers," IZA Discussion Papers 8562, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Stafford, Tess, 2012. "Labor Supply of Fishermen: An Empirical Analysis," 2012 Conference (56th), February 7-10, 2012, Fremantle, Australia 124450, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    13. Zubrickas, Robertas, 2023. "The relative income effect and labor supply," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 209(C), pages 176-184.
    14. Chetty, Raj & Looney, Adam, 2006. "Consumption smoothing and the welfare consequences of social insurance in developing economies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2351-2356, December.
    15. Giles, John, 2006. "Is life more risky in the open? Household risk-coping and the opening of China's labor markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 25-60, October.
    16. Steffen Andersen & Alec Brandon & Uri Gneezy & John List, 2014. "Toward an Understanding of Reference-Dependent Labor Supply: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00392, The Field Experiments Website.
    17. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Daily Needs, Income Targets and Labor Supply: Evidence from Kenya," NBER Working Papers 19264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. De Weerdt, Joachim & Dercon, Stefan, 2006. "Risk-sharing networks and insurance against illness," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 337-356, December.
    19. Kathleen Beegle & Rajeev Dehejia & Roberta Gatti, 2003. "Child Labor, Crop Shocks, and Credit Constraints," NBER Working Papers 10088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Enrico Moretti, 2009. "Do microfinance programs help families insure consumption against illness?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 257-273, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7350. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Joachim Winter (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.