Risky Sexual Behavior: Biological Markers and Self-Reported Data

32 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2014

See all articles by Lucia Corno

Lucia Corno

Queen Mary, University of London

Aureo de Paula

University College London - Department of Economics; Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics

Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

Self-reported data on sexual behaviors have been criticized to be unreliable. In recent studies, risky sexual behaviors have therefore been measured using biomarkers for curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Nevertheless, no previous research have tested how reliable such data are. In this paper, we first build an epidemiological model to assess the relative performance of biomarkers versus self-reported data. We then suggest an econometric strategy that combines both types of measures, biomarkers and self-reported data, to improve the estimation of correlates of risky sexual behaviors. Using the Demographic and Health Survey from Zambia, we calibrate the model and provide conditions under which self-reported data are a better proxy for risky sexual behaviors than biomarkers. In countries with low STIs prevalence, the biomarker has a higher probability of misclassification of risky behaviors than self-reported answers. Finally, we apply our estimation strategy to these data.

Keywords: biomarker, misclassification, risky behaviour, self-reported

JEL Classification: C25, I12, I15

Suggested Citation

Corno, Lucia and de Paula, Aureo, Risky Sexual Behavior: Biological Markers and Self-Reported Data (November 2014). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10271. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2532939

Lucia Corno (Contact Author)

Queen Mary, University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Aureo De Paula

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics

Rua Itapeva 474 s.1202
São Paulo, São Paulo 01332-000
Brazil

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