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Is Sex Like Driving? Risk Compensation Associated with Randomized Male Circumcision in Kisumu, Kenya

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Abstract

Mass adult male circumcision campaigns for HIV prevention are underway across much of Sub-Saharan Africa. However, concern remains about risk compensation associated with the reduction in the probability of HIV transmission per risky act. This paper examines the be- havioral response to male circumcision in Kisumu, Kenya. Contrary to the presumption of risk compensation, we find that the response due to the perceived reduction in HIV transmission appears to have been a reduction in risky sexual behavior. We suggest a mechanism for this finding: circumcision reduces fatalism about acquiring HIV/AIDS and increases the salience of the tradeoff between engaging in additional risky behavior and avoiding acquiring HIV. We also find what appears to be a competing effect that does not operate through the circumcision recipient's belief about the reduction in the risk of acquiring HIV.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Wilson & Wentao Xiong & Christine Mattson, 2011. "Is Sex Like Driving? Risk Compensation Associated with Randomized Male Circumcision in Kisumu, Kenya," Center for Development Economics 2011-09, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jan 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wilcde:2011-09
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    File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/Wilson_Circumcision.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Keeler, Theodore E, 1994. "Highway Safety, Economic Behavior, and Driving Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 684-693, June.
    2. Oster, Emily, 2012. "HIV and sexual behavior change: Why not Africa?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-49.
    3. Evans, William N & Graham, John D, 1991. "Risk Reduction or Risk Compensation? The Case of Mandatory Safety-Belt Use Laws," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 61-73, January.
    4. Dickie, Mark & Gerking, Shelby, 1997. "Genetic Risk Factors and Offsetting Behavior: The Case of Skin Cancer," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 81-97, October.
    5. Clifford Winston & Vikram Maheshri & Fred Mannering, 2006. "An exploration of the offset hypothesis using disaggregate data: The case of airbags and antilock brakes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 83-99, March.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Male circumcision and risky sexual behavior
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-01-06 21:31:00
    2. Male circumcision and risky sexual behavior
      by UDADISI in udadisi on 2012-01-06 22:21:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Victoria Baranov & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2018. "The Impact of AIDS Treatment on Savings and Human Capital Investment in Malawi," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 266-306, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    HIV/AIDS; male circumcision; risk compensation; beliefs; Kenya;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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