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Publication - Dr Yanos Zylberberg

    War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry


    Brodeur, A, Lekfuangfu, W & Zylberberg, Y, 2017, ‘War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry’. Journal of the European Economic Association.


    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.

    Full details in the University publications repository