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Risk-coping through sexual networks : evidence from client transfers in Kenya

  • Robinson, Jonathan
  • Yeh, Ethan

Why do women engage in transactional sex? While much of the explanation is that sex-for-money pays more than other jobs, this paper uses a unique panel dataset 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 inter-person 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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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5582.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5582
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  1. 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.
  2. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2009. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Anne Case & Alicia Menendez, 2009. "Requiescat in Pace? The Consequences of High Priced Funerals in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 14998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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.
  6. Raj Arunachalam & Manisha Shah, 2008. "Prostitutes and Brides?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 516-22, May.
  7. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
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