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Do Teenagers Respond to HIV Risk Information? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya

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  • Pascaline Dupas

Abstract

We use a randomized experiment to test whether and what information changes teenagers' sexual behavior in Kenya. Providing information on the relative risk of HIV infection by partner's age led to a 28 percent decrease in teen pregnancy, an objective proxy for the incidence of unprotected sex. Self-reported sexual behavior data suggests substitution away from older (riskier) partners and toward same-age partners. In contrast, the official abstinence-only HIV curriculum had no impact on teen pregnancy. These results suggest that teenagers are responsive to risk information, but their sexual behavior is more elastic on the intensive than on the extensive margin. (JEL D83, I12, J13, O12)

Suggested Citation

  • Pascaline Dupas, 2011. "Do Teenagers Respond to HIV Risk Information? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-34, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:1-34
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Julie S. Downs & George Loewenstein & Jessica Wisdom, 2009. "Strategies for Promoting Healthier Food Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 159-164, May.
    2. Thomas S. Dee & William N. Evans, 2001. "Teens and Traffic Safety," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 121-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jeremy Magruder, 2011. "Marital Shopping and Epidemic AIDS," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1401-1428, November.
    4. Steven D. Levitt & Lance Lochner, 2001. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 327-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rebecca L. Thornton, 2008. "The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1829-1863, December.
    6. Jonathan Gruber & Jonathan Zinman, 2001. "Youth Smoking in the United States: Evidence and Implications," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 69-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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