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Internet's Dirty Secret: Assessing the Impact of Online Intermediaries on the Outbreak of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

  • Jason Chan

    ()

    (Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences (IOMS), NYU Stern Business School)

  • Anindya Ghose

    ()

    (Department of Information, Operations, and Management Sciences (IOMS), NYU Stern Business School)

Registered author(s):

    We investigate how the expansion of Craigslist into different states over a 11 year period in the United States affected the incidence of HIV. Using a natural experiment setup, we identify the effects of Craigslist's entry on HIV trends by exploiting the variations across states and time. After controlling for extraneous factors, our results show that Craigslist's entry leads to a 19.8 percent increase in HIV cases, which maps out to an average of 158.7 cases for a state in a year. The analyses further suggest that non-market related casual sex serves as the underlying mechanism driving the increase in HIV cases, while paid transactions (e.g., escort services and prostitution) solicited on the site do not influence HIV trends. The increases in HIV cases as a result of Craigslist entry are estimated to impose treatment costs of over $118 million annually on the U.S. healthcare system. Study implications and limitations are discussed.

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    File URL: http://www.NETinst.org/Chan_12-07.pdf
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    Paper provided by NET Institute in its series Working Papers with number 12-07.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2012
    Date of revision: Sep 2012
    Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1207
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.NETinst.org/

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    1. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
    2. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 2002. "The Impact of Information Technology on Emergency Health Care Outcomes," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(3), pages 399-432, Autumn.
    3. Trevon D. Logan & Manisha Shah, 2013. "Face Value: Information and Signaling in an Illegal Market," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 529-564, January.
    4. Amalia R. Miller & Catherine E. Tucker, 2011. "Can Health Care Information Technology Save Babies?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 289 - 324.
    5. Chris Forman & Anindya Ghose & Avi Goldfarb, 2009. "Competition Between Local and Electronic Markets: How the Benefit of Buying Online Depends on Where You Live," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 47-57, January.
    6. Lancaster, Tony, 2000. "The incidental parameter problem since 1948," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 391-413, April.
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