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

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.

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/Wilson_Circumcision.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Center for Development Economics with number 2011-09.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:wil:wilcde:2011-09
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  1. Oster, Emily, 2012. "HIV and sexual behavior change: Why not Africa?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-49.
  2. 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.
  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. 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.
  5. Keeler, Theodore E, 1994. "Highway Safety, Economic Behavior, and Driving Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 684-93, June.
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