The economics of sexuality: The effect of HIV/AIDS on homosexual behavior in the United States
In this paper, I test a simple microeconomic theory of sexuality. I apply the theory to make predictions about the effect of AIDS on sexuality, since AIDS dramatically altered the cost of sexual activities. Using a nationally representative dataset on sexuality in the United States, I estimate the effect of AIDS on male and female homosexual behavior. To do so, I postulate that people who have a relative with AIDS, on average, have more knowledge, awareness, and fear of AIDS. Empirically, this variable is uncorrelated with a number of individual background characteristics. I present evidence that AIDS causes some men to shift from homosexual to heterosexual behavior, whereas AIDS causes some women to shift from heterosexual to homosexual behavior. Thus, sexual behavior may respond to incentives. I consider alternative hypotheses, including biological theories of sexual orientation and stigma-related survey bias, and argue that they are unlikely to explain the results.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Emily Oster, 2005. "Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Behavior, and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 467-515, May.
- 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.
- Neeraj Sood & Dana Goldman, 2006.
"HIV Breakthroughs and Risky Sexual Behavior,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 1063-1102, 08.
- Pinkerton, Steven D. & Abramson, Paul R., 1997. "Effectiveness of condoms in preventing HIV transmission," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1303-1312, May.
- Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Emily Oster, 2007.
"HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?,"
NBER Working Papers
13049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chesson, Harrell & Harrison, Paul & Kassler, William J, 2000. "Sex Under the Influence: The Effect of Alcohol Policy on Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates in the United States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 215-38, April.
- Gregson, Simon & Zhuwau, Tom & Anderson, Roy M. & Chandiwana, Stephen K., 1998. "Is there evidence for behaviour change in response to AIDS in rural Zimbabwe?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 321-330, February.
- Paul Gertler & Manisha Shah & Stefano M. Bertozzi, 2005. "Risky Business: The Market for Unprotected Commercial Sex," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 518-550, June.
- Kremer, Michael, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-73, May.
- Gerald S. Oettinger, 1999. "The Effects of Sex Education on Teen Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 606-635, June.
- Avner Ahituv & V. Joseph Hotz & Tomas Philipson, 1996. "The Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Local Prevalence of AIDS," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 869-897.
- Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:3:p:675-689. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.