Criminal Prosecution and Hiv-Related Risky Behavior

34 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2007 Last revised: 17 Dec 2010

See all articles by Adeline Delavande

Adeline Delavande

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia

Dana P. Goldman

RAND Corporation; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Neeraj Sood

University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); RAND Corporation; University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

Date Written: February 2007

Abstract

We evaluate the consequences of prosecuting HIV+ people who expose others to the risk of infection. We show that the effect of aggressive prosecutions on the spread of HIV is a priori ambiguous. Aggressive prosecutions tax risky behavior and thus deter unsafe sex and limit the number of sexual partners. However, such penalties might also create unique incentives for having sex with more promiscuous partners such as prostitutes and consequently increase the spread of HIV. We test these predictions using unique nationally representative data on the sexual activity and prosecutions of HIV+ persons. We find that more aggressive prosecutions are associated with a reduction in the number of sexual partners and increased likelihood of safe sex. However, they are also associated with increased likelihood of having sex with prostitutes and not disclosing HIV+ status. Overall, our estimates imply that doubling the prosecution rate could decrease the number of new HIV infections by 12% over a ten-year period.

Suggested Citation

Delavande, Adeline and Goldman, Dana P. and Sood, Neeraj, Criminal Prosecution and Hiv-Related Risky Behavior (February 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w12903. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=963736

Adeline Delavande

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisboa, 1099-032
Portugal
+35 1 21 380 16 00 (Phone)
+35 1 21 387 09 33 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://docentes.fe.unl.pt/~adeline/page2.html

Dana P. Goldman (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Neeraj Sood

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

RAND Corporation ( email )

P.O. Box 2138
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3333
United States

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