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How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Second Version

Author

Listed:
  • Aureo de Paula

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Gil Shapira

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Petra E. Todd

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

This paper examines whether and to what extent changes in beliefs about own HIV status induce changes in risky sexual behavior using data from married males living in three regions of Malawi. Risky behavior is measured as the propensity to engage in extramarital affairs. The empirical analysis is based on panel surveys for years 2006 and 2008 from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP), which contain detailed information on beliefs about HIV status and on sexual behaviors. Many individuals change their beliefs over time, because of opportunities to get tested for HIV and informational campaigns. We estimate the effect of belief revisions on the propensity to engage in extra-marital affairs using a panel data estimator developed by Arellano and Carrasco (2003), which accommodates unobserved heterogeneity as well as belief endogeneity arising from the dependence of current beliefs on lagged behaviors. We find that downward revisions in the belief of being HIV positive lead to an increased propensity to engage in extra-marital affairs and upward revisions to a decreased propensity. The estimates are shown to be robust to underreporting of affairs. Using our estimates and a standard epidemeological model of disease transmission, we find that increasing the responsiveness of beliefs to test results would reduce the HIV transmission rate as infected individuals reduce sexual behavior and decrease the likelihood that uninfected persons have contact with an HIV-positive person.

Suggested Citation

  • Aureo de Paula & Gil Shapira & Petra E. Todd, 2009. "How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-004, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 27 Jan 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:10-004
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wilson, Nicholas, 2016. "Antiretroviral therapy and demand for HIV testing: Evidence from Zambia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 221-240.
    2. David Canning, 2006. "The Economics of HIV/AIDS in Low-Income Countries: The Case for Prevention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 121-142, Summer.
    3. Tomas J. Philipson & Richard A. Posner, 1995. "A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Public Health Subsidies for STD Testing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 445-474.
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    5. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-573.
    6. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    7. Michael A. Boozer & Tomas J. Philipson, 2000. "The Impact of Public Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 419-446.
    8. Mechoulan Stéphane, 2004. "HIV Testing: a Trojan Horse?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-26, August.
    9. FFF1Georges NNN1Reniers, 2003. "Divorce and Remarriage in Rural Malawi," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(6), pages 175-206, September.
    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1999:89:9:1397-1405_1 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Rebecca L. Thornton, 2008. "The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1829-1863, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Delavande, Adeline & Giné, Xavier & McKenzie, David, 2011. "Measuring subjective expectations in developing countries: A critical review and new evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 151-163, March.
    2. Ruben Castro & Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2015. "Perception of HIV risk and the quantity and quality of children: the case of rural Malawi," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 113-132, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    AIDS; Malawi; Beliefs;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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