THE IMPACT OF HIV EDUCATION ON BEHAVIOR AMONG YOUTHS: A PROPENSITY SCORE MATCHING APPROACH

Authors

  • D. MARK ANDERSON

    1. Anderson: Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-2920. Phone 1-406-366-0921, Fax 1-406-994-4838, E-mail dwight.anderson@montana.edu
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    • I owe thanks to Dean Anderson, Mike Hanlon, Shelly Lundberg, Claus Pörtner, Mary Schroeder, and participants at the 2010 Southern Economic Association's annual meeting for comments and suggestions. I also owe thanks to Lisa Whittle from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help with obtaining the YRBS data. I gratefully acknowledge support from a Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) Traineeship at the University of Washington, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those held by the CSDE or the NICHD.


Abstract

There has been a long-standing debate as to whether sex or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) education actually influences the way young people behave. To the extent these programs work, they represent a potential mechanism policy-makers might use to reduce risky behavior among youths. This paper uses data from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey to examine if students who have received school-based HIV instruction behave differently than those who have not. To address potentially endogenous exposure to HIV education, this paper considers a propensity score matching approach. Findings from the propensity score analysis suggest that standard ordinary least squares results are biased. Despite this, there remains some evidence that exposure to HIV education decreases risky sexual activity. Among male students, HIV education is also negatively related to the rate of using needles to inject illegal drugs into the body. The needle use results are robust to a sensitivity analysis, while the results for sexual behaviors are not. (JEL H75, I18, I28, K32)

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