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The long-term determinants of female HIV infection in Africa: The slave trade, polygyny, and sexual behavior

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Dimico, Arcangelo

Abstract

We study the long-term determinants of the high rates of female HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on the transatlantic slave trade. Our hypothesis is that the latter contributed to the contemporaneous diffusion of polygyny and associated forms of social and sexual behavior that are conducive to HIV infection. We uncover that an increase in the rate of historical slave density causes a sizeable and robust increase in the rate of HIV prevalence, with a more marked effect among married women, and particularly those that do not live with their husbands. A higher slave density also induces more widespread female infidelity. These patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that higher-rank, non-cohabiting, younger co-wives are driven to infidelity by marital dissatisfaction. The resulting risky sexual behavior increases their likelihood to contract and transmit the virus, through the husbands, to their faithful co-wives, with a multiplicative effect among women.

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2019. "The long-term determinants of female HIV infection in Africa: The slave trade, polygyny, and sexual behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 90-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:140:y:2019:i:c:p:90-105
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.05.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Yu & Xu, Zhicheng Phil & Kibriya, Shahriar, 2021. "The long-term effects of the slave trade on political violence in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 776-800.
    2. Alger, Ingela, 2021. "On the evolution of male competitiveness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 190(C), pages 228-254.
    3. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo & Tedeschi, Gian Luca, 2022. "Strangers and Foreigners: Trust and Attitudes toward Citizenship," IZA Discussion Papers 15042, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The legacies of slavery in and out of Africa," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, December.
    5. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2020. "COVID-19, Race, and Redlining," Department of Economics 0175, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    6. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2020. "COVID-19, Race, and Redlining," GLO Discussion Paper Series 603, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The Legacies of Slavery in and out of Africa," Department of Economics 0096, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    8. Guo, Feng & Huang, Yiping & Wang, Jingyi & Wang, Xue, 2022. "The informal economy at times of COVID-19 pandemic," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    9. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2020. "Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family," GLO Discussion Paper Series 564, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    10. Ananyev, Maxim & Poyker, Michael, 2021. "Christian missions and anti-gay attitudes in Africa," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 359-374.
    11. Athias, Laure & Macina, Moudo, 2022. "Demand for vaccination in Sub-Saharan Africa: The vertical legacy of the slave trade," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 293(C).
    12. Julia CAGÉ & Valeria RUEDA, 2020. "Sex and the mission: the Conflicting Effects of early Christian Missions on HIV in sub-Saharan Africa," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 86(3), pages 213-257, September.
    13. Julia Cage & Valeria Rueda, 2017. "Sex and the Mission: The Conflicting Effects of Early Christian Investments on the HIV Epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa," SciencePo Working papers hal-03393166, HAL.
    14. Cherniwchan, Jevan & Moreno-Cruz, Juan, 2019. "Maize and precolonial Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 137-150.
    15. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2020. "Historical Legacies and African Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(1), pages 53-128, March.
    16. Julia Cage & Valeria Rueda, 2017. "Sex and the Mission: The Conflicting Effects of Early Christian Investments on the HIV Epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa," Sciences Po publications 12192, Sciences Po.
    17. Calvi, Rossella & Mantovanelli, Federico G., 2018. "Long-term effects of access to health care: Medical missions in colonial India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 285-303.
    18. Leone Walters & Carolyn Chisadza & Matthew Clance, 2021. "Slave Trades, Kinship Structures and Women Political Participation in Africa," Working Papers 202156, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    19. Graziella Bertocchi & Angelo Dimico & Gian Luca Tedeschi, 2022. "Strangers and Foreigners: Trust and Attitudes toward Citizenship," Department of Economics 0200, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    20. Martina Cioni & Giovanni Federico & Michelangelo Vasta, 2020. "The two Revolutions in Economic History," Working Papers 0192, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    21. Gershman, Boris, 2020. "Witchcraft beliefs as a cultural legacy of the Atlantic slave trade: Evidence from two continents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    22. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2020. "Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family," Department of Economics 0172, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    23. Dozie & Roland Pongou, 2021. "Missions and Heterogeneous Social Change: Evidence from Border Discontinuities in the Emirates of Nigeria," Working Papers 2112E Classification-I20,, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    HIV; Slave trade; Sexual behavior; Polygyny;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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