Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version

1-29-2020

Abstract

Individuals in low-income settings are often overly pessimistic about their own survival, suggesting that better knowledge about survival risks might encourage investments in health. This paper provides evidence from a randomized experiment that provided mature adults aged 45+ in Malawi with information about mortality risks. Treated individuals are less likely to engage in risky sexual practices one year after the intervention, and they increase other forward-looking behaviors such as investments in agriculture. Expectations of HIV+ people living longer, which makes the pool of potential partners riskier, are a primary driver of reduced sexual risk taking in response to the intervention.

Keywords

subjective mortality expectations, HIV/AIDS, sexual behavior, lifecycle decision-making

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Date Posted: 29 January 2020