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

Aureo de Paula, Gil Shapira () and Petra Todd

PIER Working Paper Archive from Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: This paper examines how beliefs about own HIV status affect decisions to engage in risky sexual behavior (as measured by extramarital affairs) and analyzes the potential for interventions that influence beliefs, such as HIV testing and informational campaigns, to reduce transmission rates. The empirical analysis is based on a panel survey of married males for years 2006 and 2008 from the Malawi Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP). In the data, beliefs about HIV status vary significantly geographically and over time, in part because of newly available testing opportunities and because of cultural differences. We estimate the effect of beliefs on risky behavior using Arellano and Carrasco’s (2003) semiparametric panel data estimator, which accommodates unobserved heterogeneity and belief endogeneity. Results show that changes in the belief of being HIV positive induce changes in risky behavior. Downward revisions in beliefs increase risky behavior and upward revisions decrease it. We modify Arellano and Carrasco’s (2003) estimator to allow for underreporting of extramarital affairs and find the estimates to be robust. Using the estimates and a prototypical epidemiological model of disease transmission, we show that better informing people about their HIV status on net reduces the population HIV transmission rate.

Keywords: Malawi; HIV; beliefs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 58 pages
Date: 2010-07-26, Revised 2011-02-21
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dev and nep-hea
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (8)

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Related works:
Working Paper: How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Seventh Version (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Second Version (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi, Fifth Version (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: How Beliefs about HIV Status Affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence from Malawi (2008) Downloads
Working Paper: How Beliefs About HIV Status affect Risky Behaviors: Evidence From Malawi, Second Version (2008) Downloads
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