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How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Sixth Version

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Author Info

  • 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 how beliefs about own HIV status affect decisions to engage in risky sexual behavior (as measured by extramarital affairs) and analyzes the potential for interventions that influence beliefs, such as HIV testing and informational campaigns, to reduce transmission rates. The empirical analysis is based on a panel survey of married males for years 2006 and 2008 from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP). In the data, beliefs about HIV status vary significantly geographically and over time, in part because of newly available testing opportunities and because of cultural differences. We estimate the effect of beliefs on risky behavior using Arellano and Carrasco’s (2003) semiparametric panel data estimator, which accommodates unobserved heterogeneity and belief endogeneity. Results show that changes in the belief of being HIV positive induce changes in risky behavior. Downward revisions in beliefs increase risky behavior and upward revisions decrease it. We modify Arellano and Carrasco’s (2003) estimator to allow for underreporting of extramarital affairs and find the estimates to be robust. Using the estimates and a prototypical epidemiological model of disease transmission, we show that better informing people about their HIV status on net reduces the population HIV transmission rate.

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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 11-005.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 26 Jul 2010
Date of revision: 21 Feb 2011
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:11-005

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Keywords: Malawi; HIV; beliefs;

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  1. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2009. "Comparing IV With Structural Models: What Simple IV Can and Cannot Identify," NBER Working Papers 14706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Thornton, Rebecca L., 2012. "HIV testing, subjective beliefs and economic behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 300-313.
  2. Joachim Winter & Amelie C. Wuppermann, 2012. "Do they Know what's at Risk? Health Risk Perception among the Obese," CESifo Working Paper Series 3864, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Baird, Sarah & Gong, Erick & McIntosh, Craig & Ozler, Berk, 2014. "The heterogeneous effects of HIV testing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6823, The World Bank.
  4. Olivier STERCK, 2011. "Why only one individual tests for HIV/AIDS among Sub-Saharan African Couples?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

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