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Income shocks and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Burke, Marshall
  • Gong, Erick
  • Jones, Kelly

Poverty is commonly cited as a key driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, yet little causal evidence exists linking economic conditions to actual disease outcomes. Using data on more than 200,000 individuals across 19 Sub-Saharan African countries, we present evidence that negative income shocks can lead to substantial increases in HIV prevalence, particularly for women in rural areas. Building on recent work showing that income shortfalls can induce some women to engage in higher-risk sex, we match data on individuals' HIV status from the Demographic and Health Surveys to data on recent variation in local rainfall, a primary (and exogenous) source of variation in income for rural households in Africa. We find that infection rates for women (men) in HIV-endemic rural areas increase significantly by 14 percent (11 percent) for every drought event experienced in the previous 10 years. Further analysis suggests that women most affected by the shocks (that is, those engaged in agriculture) are driving the women's results; these women are partnering with men least affected (those employed outside agriculture). Our findings suggest a role for formal insurance and social safety nets in tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1146.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1146
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  1. 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.
  2. Jonathan Robinson & Ethan Yeh, 2012. "Risk-Coping through Sexual Networks: Evidence from Client Transfers in Kenya," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(1), pages 107-145.
  3. Kudamatsu, Masayuki & Persson, Torsten & Strömberg, David, 2012. "Weather and Infant Mortality in Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 9222, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Belgi Turan, 2010. "HIV and Fertility Revisited," NBER Working Papers 16115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Beegle, Kathleen & de Walque, Damien, 2009. "Demographic and socioeconomic patterns of HIV/AIDS prevalence in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5076, The World Bank.
  6. 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.
  7. Emily Oster, 2007. "HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 13049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dupas, Pascaline & Robinson, Jonathan, 2012. "The (hidden) costs of political instability: Evidence from Kenya's 2007 election crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 314-329.
  9. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Sharon L. Maccini & Dean Yang, 2008. "Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Economic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall," NBER Working Papers 14031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hans-Peter Kohler & Rebecca L. Thornton, 2012. "Conditional Cash Transfers and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Unconditionally Promising?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 26(2), pages 165-190.
  12. Nicholas Wilson, 2010. "Economic Growth and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic: Evidence from the Early 21st Century Copper Boom," Center for Development Economics 2011-04, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  13. Baird, Sarah & Chirwa, Ephraim & McIntosh, Craig & Ozler, Berk, 2009. "The short-term impacts of a schooling conditional cash transfer program on the sexual behavior of young women," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5089, The World Bank.
  14. Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2001. " Child Growth in the Time of Drought," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 409-36, September.
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