When Knowledge is Not Enough: Hiv/Aids Information and Risky Behavior in Botswana

32 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2006 Last revised: 8 Dec 2022

See all articles by Taryn Dinkelman

Taryn Dinkelman

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics

James A. Levinsohn

University of Michigan; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Rolang Majelantle

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 2006

Abstract

The spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still fueled by ignorance in many parts of the world. Filling in knowledge gaps, particularly between men and women, is considered key to preventing future infections and to reducing female vulnerabilities to the disease. However, such knowledge is arguably only a necessary condition for targeting these objectives. In this paper, we describe the extent to which HIV/AIDS knowledge is correlated with less risky sexual behavior. We ask: even when there are no substantial knowledge gaps between men and women, do we still observe sex-specific differentials in sexual behavior that would increase vulnerability to infection? We use data from two recent household surveys in Botswana to address this question. We show that even when men and women have very similar types of knowledge, they have different probabilities of reporting safe sex. Our findings are consistent with the existence of non-informational barriers to behavioral change, some of which appear to be sex-specific. The descriptive exercise in this paper suggests that it may be overly optimistic to hope for reductions in risky behavior through the channel of HIV-information provision alone.

Suggested Citation

Dinkelman, Taryn and Levinsohn, James A. and Majelantle, Rolang, When Knowledge is Not Enough: Hiv/Aids Information and Risky Behavior in Botswana (August 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12418, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=923069

Taryn Dinkelman

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

James A. Levinsohn (Contact Author)

University of Michigan ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Rolang Majelantle

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available