Sex Workers, Stigma and Self-Image: Evidence from Kolkata Brothels

Sayantan Ghosal, Anandi Mani, Smarajit Jana, Sandip Mitra, Sanchari Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
256 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper studies the link between self-image and behavior among those who face stigma due to poverty and social exclusion. Using a randomized field experiment with sex workers in Kolkata (India), we examine whether a psychological intervention to mitigate adverse effects of internalized stigma can induce behavior change. We find significant improvements in participants’ self-image, their savings choices, and health clinic visits. Administrative data confirm that these changes in savings and preventive health behavior persist 15 and 21 months later, respectively. Our findings highlight the potential of purely psychological interventions to improve the life choices and outcomes of marginalized groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-448
Number of pages18
JournalREVIEW OF ECONOMICS AND STATISTICS
Volume104
Issue number3
Early online date9 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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