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HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?

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  • Emily Oster

Abstract

The response of sexual behavior to HIV in Africa is an important input to predicting the path of the epidemic and to focusing prevention efforts. Existing estimates suggest limited behavioral response, but fail to take into account possible differences across individuals. A simple model of sexual behavior choice among forward-looking individuals implies that behavioral response should be larger for those with lower non-HIV mortality risks and those who are richer. I estimate behavioral response using a new instrumental variables strategy, instrumenting for HIV prevalence with distance to the origin of the virus. I find low response on average, consistent with existing literature, but larger responses for those who face lower non-HIV mortality and for those who are richer. I also show suggestive evidence, based on a very simple calibration, that the magnitude of behavioral response in Africa is of a similar order of magnitude to that among gay men in the United States, once differences in income and life expectancy are taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Emily Oster, 2007. "HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 13049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13049
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Emily Oster, 2005. "Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Behavior, and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 467-515.
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    5. Dupas, Pascaline, 2005. "Relative Risks and the Market for Sex: Teenagers, Sugar Daddies and HIV in Kenya," MPRA Paper 248, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Aug 2006.
    6. Kenkel, Donald S, 1991. "Health Behavior, Health Knowledge, and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 287-305, April.
    7. Oster Emily, 2010. "Estimating HIV Prevalence and Incidence in Africa from Mortality Data," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-46, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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