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Criminal Prosecution and Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Related Risky Behavior

  • Adeline Delavande
  • Dana Goldman
  • Neeraj Sood

We examine the consequences of prosecuting people who are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive and expose others to the infection. We show that the effect of such prosecutions on the spread of HIV is a priori ambiguous. The prosecutions deter unsafe sex. However, they also create incentives for having sex with partners who are more promiscuous, which consequently increases the spread of HIV. We test these predictions and find that such prosecutions are associated with a reduction in the number of partners, an increase in safe sex, and an increase in sex with prostitutes. We estimate that doubling the prosecution rate could decrease the total number of new HIV infections by one-third over a 10-year period.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/655806
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/655806
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 53 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 741 - 782

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/655806
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-573.
  2. Morse, Edward V. & Simon, Patricia M. & Osofsky, Howard J. & Balson, Paul M. & Gaumer, H. Richard, 1991. "The male street prostitute: A vector for transmission of HIV infection into the heterosexual world," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 535-539, January.
  3. Donohue John & Wolfers Justin J, 2006. "The Death Penalty: No Evidence for Deterrence," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(5), pages 1-6, April.
  4. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
  5. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
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  7. Auld, M. Christopher, 2003. "Choices, beliefs, and infectious disease dynamics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 361-377, May.
  8. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Becker Gary S., 2006. "On the Economics of Capital Punishment," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 1-4, March.
  10. Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-351.
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  12. Rubin Paul H., 2006. "Reply to Donohue and Wolfers on the Death Penalty and Deterrence," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(5), pages 1-3, April.
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