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Awareness and AIDS: A Political Economy Perspective

  • Gani Aldashev

    ()

    (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur)

  • Jean-Marie Baland

    ()

    (Center for Research in the Economics of Development, University of Namur; CEPR; BREADS)

Across African countries, prevention policies are unrelated to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and, even in countries in which they were successful, these policies are often unstable or reversed. To explain these two puzzles, we propose a simple political economy model that examines how prevention policies and the epidemic dynamics are jointly determined. Prevention campaigns affect both citizens'behavior and their perception of the role of public policies in fighting AIDS. The behavioral changes induced by the policy, in turn, reduce the risk of infection for sexually active agents, and this creates political support for future policies. The two-way relationship between prevention policy and awareness generates two stable steady-state equilibria: high awareness/slow prevalence and low awareness/high prevalence. The low prevalence equilibrium is fragile: the economy can easily drift away towards the high prevalence rates as they also imply less active prevention policies. We then conduct an empirical analysis of the determinants of public support for HIV/AIDS policies using the 2005 Afrobarometer data. High prevalence rates translate into public support for prevention policies only in countries which carried out active prevention campaigns in the past. The proposed framework extends naturally to a large class of public health policies under which awareness partly follows from the policies themselves.

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File URL: http://www.fundp.ac.be/eco/economie/recherche/wpseries/wp/1204.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by University of Namur, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1204.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nam:wpaper:1204
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  1. Stephen Morris & Stephen Coate, 1999. "Policy Persistence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1327-1336, December.
  2. 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.
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  4. Roland Pongou & Roberto Serrano, 2009. "A Dynamic Theory of Fidelity Networks with an Application to the Spread of HIV/AIDS," Working Papers 2009-2, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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  9. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," Papers 08-15-2005a, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
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  11. De Walque, Damien, 2004. "How does the impact of an HIV/AIDS information campaign vary with educational attainment ? Evidence from rural Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3289, The World Bank.
  12. James A. Levinsohn & Taryn Dinkelman & Rolang Majelantle, 2006. "When Knowledge is not Enough: HIV/AIDS Information and Risky Behavior in Botswana," NBER Working Papers 12418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere Behrman & Susan Watkins, 2007. "Social networks and HIV/AIDS risk perceptions," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 1-33, February.
  14. Yamauchi, Futoshi & Ueyama, Mika, 2008. "Social learning, selection, and HIV infection: Evidence from Malawi," IFPRI discussion papers 817, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  17. 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.
  18. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
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