UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Erick Gong, Middlebury College

Coping with Risk: The Effects of Shocks on Sexually Transmitted Infections and Transactional Sex in Rural Tanzania

Date and Location

Monday, May 2, 2016, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Library Conference Room, 4101 Social Sciences and Humanities


Transactional sex is believed to be an important risk-coping mechanism for women in sub-Saharan Africa and to be a leading contributor to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Using a panel of women in rural Tanzania, we find that negative shocks measured by food insecurity lead to a 36% increase in sexually transmitted infections. Using self-reported sexual behavior, we document that unmarried women are three times more likely to report having been paid for sex in a period where they experienced a shock. For married women, shocks lead to higher rates of extramarital sex. These findings support the claims that transactional sex is not confined to commercial sex workers but is a prevalent risk coping behavior with adverse health implications.

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