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

Author

Listed:
  • Áureo 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 how beliefs about own HIV status affect decisions to engage in risky sexual behavior, as measured by having extramarital sex and/or multiple sex partners. The empirical analysis is based on a panel survey of males from the 2006 and 2008 rounds of the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP). The paper first develops a behavioral model of the belief-risky behavior relationship. It then estimates the causal effect of beliefs on risky behavior in a way that takes into account the belief updating mechanisms implied by the model. In particular, the Arellano and Carrasco (2003) semiparametric panel data estimator that is used accommodates both unobserved heterogeneity and belief endogeneity, arising from dependence of current beliefs on past risky behavior. Results show that downward revisions in the belief assigned to being HIV positive increase risky behavior and upward revisions decrease it. We estimate for example that a change in the perceived probability of being HIV positive from 0 to 100% reduces risky behavior between 13.7 and 36.4 percentage points depending on the risky behavior definition and year. Implementation of a modified estimator that allows for misreporting of risky behavior finds the estimates to be downward biased but relatively robust to a wide range of plausible misreporting levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Áureo de Paula & Gil Shapira & Petra E. Todd, 2011. "How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Seventh Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 15 Oct 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:11-033
    as

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    File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/11-033.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Oster, Emily, 2012. "HIV and sexual behavior change: Why not Africa?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-49.
    5. 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.
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    7. 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.
    8. Adeline Delavande & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2012. "The Impact of HIV Testing on Subjective Expectations and Risky Behavior in Malawi," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1011-1036, August.
    9. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    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.
    12. 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.
    13. Hausman, J. A. & Abrevaya, Jason & Scott-Morton, F. M., 1998. "Misclassification of the dependent variable in a discrete-response setting," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 239-269, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Adeline Delavande, 2012. "HIV/AIDS-related Expectations and Risky Sexual Behavior in Malawi," 2012 Meeting Papers 90, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Baird, Sarah & Gong, Erick & McIntosh, Craig & Özler, Berk, 2014. "The heterogeneous effects of HIV testing," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 98-112.
    3. Bennett, Daniel & Chiang, Chun-Fang & Malani, Anup, 2015. "Learning during a crisis: The SARS epidemic in Taiwan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 1-18.
    4. Thornton, Rebecca L., 2012. "HIV testing, subjective beliefs and economic behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 300-313.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Malawi; HIV; beliefs;

    JEL classification:

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

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