Economic Growth and the HIV/AIDS Pandemic: Evidence from the Early 21st Century Copper Boom
Copper mining is among the largest economic activities in Zambia, comprising close to ten percent of GDP. Between 2003 and 2008, the price of copper increased by over 400 percent. In response, copper production in Zambia grew by 70 percent and employment in copper mining increased by nearly 200 percent. This paper examines the effect of this large and sustained economic shock on sexual behavior and the spread of HIV/AIDS in Zambia. I use nationally representative survey data on sexual behavior before and during the copper boom in conjunction with detailed spatial data on the location of survey respondents and copper mines. The results indicate that the copper boom substantially reduced rates of transactional sex and multiple partnerships in the copper mining cities. These effects were partly concentrated among young adults and copper boom induced in-migration to mining areas appears to have contributed to these reductions.
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