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Will the AIDS Epidemic be Self-Limiting? Evidence on the Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Prevalence of AIDS


  • Avner Ahituv
  • V. Joseph Hotz
  • Tomas Philipson


This paper investigates the degree to which the local prevalence of AIDS increases the demand for disease-preventing methods of contraception among young adults. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), we find substantial evidence that the use of condoms was quite responsive to the prevalence of AIDS in one's state of residence and this responsiveness has been increasing over time. Furthermore, the prevalence-induced increase in condom demand was the result of a substitution out of all other forms of contraception, including those methods which are more effective at preventing pregnancies. Our findings lend support to the existence of a self-limiting incentive effect of epidemics--an effect that tends to be ignored in epidemiological theories of the spread of infectious diseases.

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  • Avner Ahituv & V. Joseph Hotz & Tomas Philipson, 1994. "Will the AIDS Epidemic be Self-Limiting? Evidence on the Responsiveness of the Demand for Condoms to the Prevalence of AIDS," Working Papers 9401, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:9401

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bloom, David E. & Mahal, Ajay S., 1997. "Does the AIDS epidemic threaten economic growth?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 105-124, March.
    2. Joseph Cook & Marc Jeuland & Brian Maskery & Donald Lauria & Dipika Sur & John Clemens & Dale Whittington, 2009. "Using private demand studies to calculate socially optimal vaccine subsidies in developing countries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 6-28.
    3. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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