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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 3 (May 2013)

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Learning from Others' HIV Testing: Updating Beliefs and Responding to Risk

Article Citation

Godlonton, Susan, and Rebecca L. Thornton. 2013. "Learning from Others' HIV Testing: Updating Beliefs and Responding to Risk." American Economic Review, 103(3): 439-44.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.439

Abstract

An individual who takes an HIV test can be informed about their own status and risk. Similarly, when friends, family or neighbors learn of a person's HIV status, they may update their beliefs about HIV infection among people they know. Using an experiment conducted in rural Malawi which randomly assigned incentives to learn HIV results, we find that as people in the community learn their HIV results, individuals revise their beliefs downward about deaths attributable to HIV/AIDS. We find corresponding behavioral responses with a significant decrease in condom use and no significant increase in multiple partnerships among those who are HIV-negative.

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Authors

Godlonton, Susan (U MI)
Thornton, Rebecca L. (U MI)

JEL Classifications

D81: Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
I12: Health Production
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O18: Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure


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