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How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi1, Second Version

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  • Aureo de Paula

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Gil Shapira

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Petra E. Todd

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

This paper examines whether and to what extent changes in beliefs about own HIV status induce changes in risky sexual behavior using data from married males living in three regions of Malawi. Risky behavior is measured as the propensity to engage in extramarital affairs. The empirical analysis is based on panel surveys for years 2006 and 2008 from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP), which contain detailed information on beliefs about HIV status and on sexual behaviors. Many individuals change their beliefs over time, in part because of opportunities to get tested for HIV and informational campaigns. We estimate the effect of belief revisions on the propensity to engage in extra-marital affairs using a panel data estimator developed by Arellano and Carrasco (2003). The estimator accommodates unobserved heterogeneity as well as belief endogeneity arising from the dependence of current beliefs on lagged behaviors. We find that downward revisions in the belief of being HIV positive lead to an increased propensity to engage in extra-marital affairs and upward revisions to a decreased propensity. The estimates are shown to be robust to underreporting of affairs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 09-031.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
Date of revision: 01 Aug 2009
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:09-031

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Keywords: AIDS; Malawi; Beliefs;

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  1. Heckman, James J. & UrzĂșa, Sergio, 2010. "Comparing IV with structural models: What simple IV can and cannot identify," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 27-37, May.
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  7. Michael A. Boozer & Tomas J. Philipson, 2000. "The Impact of Public Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 419-446.
  8. Philipson, Tomas J & Posner, Richard A, 1995. "A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Public Health Subsidies for STD Testing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 445-74, May.
  9. Emily Oster, 2007. "HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 13049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Chamberlain, Gary, 1987. "Asymptotic efficiency in estimation with conditional moment restrictions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 305-334, March.
  11. Nicholas Wilson, 2010. "Antiretroviral Therapy and Demand for HIV Testing: Evidence from Zambia," Center for Development Economics, Department of Economics, Williams College 2011-01, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  12. Hausman, J. A. & Abrevaya, Jason & Scott-Morton, F. M., 1998. "Misclassification of the dependent variable in a discrete-response setting," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 239-269, September.
  13. Rebecca L. Thornton, 2008. "The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1829-63, December.
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