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Stigma and risky behaviors among male clients of sex workers in the UK in 2001

Della Giusta, M., Di Tommaso, M. L. and Jewell, S. (2017) Stigma and risky behaviors among male clients of sex workers in the UK in 2001. Feminist Economics, 23 (3). pp. 23-48. ISSN 1466-4372

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2016.1203453


This paper builds on existing theoretical work on sex markets (Della Giusta, Di Tommaso, and Strøm, 2009a). Using data from the British Sexual Attitudes Survey, we aim to replicate the analysis of the demand for paid sex previously conducted for the US (Della Giusta, Di Tommaso, Shima and Strøm, 2009b). We want to test formally the effect of attitudes, risky behaviors and personal characteristics on the demand for paid sex. Findings from empirical studies of clients suggest that personal characteristics (personal and family background, self-perception, perceptions of women, sexual preferences etc), economic factors (education, income, work) as well as attitudes towards risk (both health hazard and risk of being caught where sex work is illegal), and attitude towards relationships and sex are all likely to affect demand. Previous theoretical work has argued that stigma plays a fundamental role in determining both demand and risk, and that in particular due to the presence of stigma the demand for sex and for paid sex are not, as has been argued elsewhere, perfect substitutes. We use data from the British Sexual Attitudes Survey of 2001 to test these hypotheses. We find a positive effect of education (proxy for income), negative effects of professional status (proxies for stigma associated with buying sex), positive and significant effects of all risky behavior variables and no significant effects of variables which measure the relative degree of conservatism in morals. We conclude with some policy implications.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Economics
ID Code:62259
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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