Do Household Economic Shocks Influence Sexual Behavior Choices? Evidence from the Cape Area Panel Study

Taryn Dinkelman, University of Michigan
Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town

HIV/AIDS information campaigns try to influence choices about sexual debut, number of sexual partners, condom use and age of sexual partners. However, continued vulnerability of young people and young women in sub-Saharan Africa indicates that this behavior change is not always achieved. In this paper, we investigate some of the economic reasons why behavior may be difficult to change. Using unique panel data on young people in Cape Town, South Africa, we ask whether household income and economic shocks affect the vulnerabilities of youth to HIV/AIDS through changes in sexual behaviors. We compare changes in behaviors for young people in the Cape Area Panel Study who do and do not experience negative economic shocks between 2002 and 2005, taking care to understand which households are most subject to shocks. This paper adds to a growing literature on how disadvantage and poverty may drive the continued HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Presented in Poster Session 5