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Maria Kuechen - Research Summary

Bocconi University

Poverty, information, and human trafficking in the Philippines

Due to data limitations, little is understood about the microeconomic risk factors behind human trafficking. We introduce original survey data on vulnerable women and girls from the Philippines, roughly one-third of whom are victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Using detailed retrospective information for each respondent, we present correlates of trafficking with particular attention to household composition and income shocks. We then use an entropy balancing approach to study the effects of trafficking on victims' intertemporal and risk preferences. While trafficking appears to have no implications for patience, we observe that trafficking victims exhibit lower aversion to risk.