Social Interactions and Malaria Preventive Behaviors in Sub-Saharan Africa
This paper examines the existence of social interactions in malaria preventive behaviors in Sub-Saharan Africa, i.e. whether an individual's social environment has an influence on the individual's preventive behaviors. We focus on the two population groups which are the most vulnerable to malaria (children under 5 and pregnant women) and on two preventive behaviors (sleeping under a bednet and taking intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy). We define the social environment of the individual as people living in the same region. To detect social interactions, we calculate the size of the social multiplier by comparing the effects of anexogenous variable at the individual level and at the regional level. Our data come from 92 surveys for 29 Sub-Saharan countries between 1999 and 2012, and they cover approximately 660,000 children and 95,000 women. Our results indicate that social interactions are important in malaria preventive behaviors, since the social mulitpliers for women's education and household wealth are greater than one - which means that education and wealth generates larger effects on preventive behaviors in the long run than we would expect from the individual-level specifications, once we account for social interactions.
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