War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry

58 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2017

See all articles by Abel Brodeur

Abel Brodeur

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Warn N. Lekfuangfu

Chulalongkorn University; CEP, London School of Economics

Yanos Zylberberg

University of Bristol

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants behind the spatial distribution of the sex industry in Thailand. We relate the development of the sex industry to an early temporary demand shock, i.e., U.S. military presence during the Vietnam War. Comparing the surroundings of Thai military bases used by the U.S. army to districts close to unused Thai bases, we find that there are currently 5 times more commercial sex workers in districts near former U.S. bases. The development of the sex industry is also explained by a high price elasticity of supply due to female migration from regions affected by an agricultural crisis. Finally, we study a consequence induced by the large numbers of sex workers in few red-light districts: the HIV outbreak in the early 1990s.

Keywords: sex industry, industry location, persistence, HIV/AIDS

JEL Classification: O17, O18, N15, J46, J47, I28

Suggested Citation

Brodeur, Abel and Lekfuangfu, Warn N. and Zylberberg, Yanos, War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10686. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2949122

Abel Brodeur (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

200 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/abelbrodeur/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Warn N. Lekfuangfu

Chulalongkorn University ( email )

Bangkok 10330
Thailand

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/warnlekfuangfu/

CEP, London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/warnlekfuangfu/

Yanos Zylberberg

University of Bristol ( email )

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