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Awareness of Sexually Transmitted Disease and Economic Malady: A First Look Using Search Engine Query Data

Listed author(s):
  • Dan Farhat


    (Department of Economics, University of Otago, New Zealand)

Registered author(s):

    Using search engine query data as a measure for public awareness of sexual health outcomes, this study extracts a measure of general interest in sexually transmitted disease for the United States (2004 - 2012). This trend is compared to a measure of overall economic prosperity. Heightened interest in STDs isshown to have occurred during the recent recession (December 2007 - June 2009). It is hypothesized that potential changes in insurance coverage as workers become unemployed may increase instances of online self-diagnosis of STDs. Select data imply that an increase in the tendency to search for STD information online occurs after alternative insurance options are explored. Data also imply that interest in behavioral alternatives to treating STDs rises after interest in STDs rise (and not at the onset ofthe economic slump). This paper identifies broad trends and points to using search engine query data to connect health awareness to the state of the economy as a lucrative area of future research.

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    File Function: First version, 2013
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    Paper provided by University of Otago, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1306.

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    Length: 11 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2013
    Date of revision: Mar 2013
    Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:1306
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