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Legal Origins and Female HIV

Author

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  • Siwan Anderson

Abstract

More than one-half of all people living with HIV are women, and 80 percent of all HIV-positive women in the world live in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper demonstrates that the legal origins of these formerly colonized countries significantly determine current-day female HIV rates. In particular, female HIV rates are significantly higher in common law sub-Saharan African countries compared to civil law ones. This paper explains this relationship by focusing on differences in female property rights under the two codes of law. In sub-Saharan Africa, common law is associated with weaker female marital property laws. As a result, women in these common law countries have lower bargaining power within the household and are less able to negotiate safe sex practices and are thus more vulnerable to HIV, compared to their civil law counterparts. Exploiting the fact that some ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa cross country borders with different legal systems, we are able to include ethnicity fixed effects into a regression discontinuity approach. This allows us to control for a large set of cultural, geographical, and environmental factors that could be confounding the estimates. The results of this paper are consistent with gender inequality (the "feminization" of AIDS), explaining much of its prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Siwan Anderson, 2018. "Legal Origins and Female HIV," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(6), pages 1407-1439, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:6:p:1407-39
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20151047
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Harold Hastings’s journal round-up for 16th July 2018
      by hmhastings in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2018-07-16 11:00:51

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kudo, Yuya, 2018. "Why Is the Practice of Levirate Marriage Disappearing in Africa? HIV/AIDS as an Agent of Institutional Change," MPRA Paper 88382, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Rachel Cassidy & Marije Groot Bruinderink & Wendy Janssens & Karlijn Morsink, 2018. "The Power to Protect: Household Bargaining and Female Condom Use," CSAE Working Paper Series 2018-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • K15 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Civil Law; Common Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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    1. Legal Origins and Female HIV (AER 2018) in ReplicationWiki

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