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

  • 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)

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.

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File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/11-033.pdf
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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 11-033.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: 21 Feb 2011
Date of revision: 15 Oct 2011
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:11-033
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  1. Duncan Thomas & Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith, 2004. "Lost but Not Forgotten: Attrition and Follow-up in the Indonesia Family Life Survey," Labor and Demography 0408007, EconWPA.
  2. Arellano, Manuel & Carrasco, Raquel, 2003. "Binary choice panel data models with predetermined variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 125-157, July.
  3. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2009. "Comparing IV With Structural Models: What Simple IV Can and Cannot Identify," NBER Working Papers 14706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Rebecca L. Thornton, 2008. "The Demand for, and Impact of, Learning HIV Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1829-63, December.
  7. Oster, Emily, 2012. "HIV and sexual behavior change: Why not Africa?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-49.
  8. Kremer, Michael, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of AIDS," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 549-73, May.
  9. Michael Kremer, 1996. "Integrating Behavioral Choice into Epidemiological Models of the AIDS Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 5428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Delavande, Adeline & Gine, Xavier & McKenzie, David, 2009. "Measuring Subjective Expectations in Developing Countries: A Critical Review and New Evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4824, The World Bank.
  11. Adeline Delavande & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2012. "The Impact of HIV Testing on Subjective Expectations and Risky Behavior in Malawi," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 1011-1036, August.
  12. Chamberlain, Gary, 1987. "Asymptotic efficiency in estimation with conditional moment restrictions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 305-334, March.
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