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Micro and Macro Interactions between education, savings and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Data

Public economics

Senior Researcher : Raúl Santaeulàlia Llopis

Research Centre or Institution : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


 The main objective of the project is the construction of a model that endogenizes risky sexual behavior and therefore also the relationship between education and the probability of having HIV throughout the epidemic. This is complemented by an empirical exercise in which I document how the relationship between education and the probability of infection evolves along the stages of the epidemic using micro data from different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Using counterfactuals I am able to achieve the main result: asymmetric learning about the probability of infection due to risky sexual behavior differs between educated and uneducated and explains both the difference in the probability of being infected with HIV between education groups, as well as the aggregate prevalence of HIV. It is important to highlight that this result emerges in my model entirely endogenously throughout the epidemic, that is, through a non-stationary economy that endogenously replicates the evolution of the epidemic in its entirety (beginning, growth, peak and down). The same happens with the gradient between education and the probability of being infected. In other words, asymmetric learning is able to explain the non-monotonic behavior (in the shape of an inverted U) between education and the probability of infection that we see in the data throughout the epidemic. A wide variety of policies are being evaluated to slow the evolution of the epidemic. Antiretrovirals are proven to be counterproductive by causing individuals to increase their risky sexual behavior to near-pre-pandemic levels. The most effective policy is information campaigns about the infection process, the earlier in the epidemic, the better. Finally, it is observed that the model is capable of reproducing the heterogeneity of epidemics present between countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 1
Communications at national conferences 1
Communications at international conferences 6


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