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Marriage as a risk factor of HIV-infection: the role of female empowerment

Elodie Djemai, University of Michigan
Jean-Paul Azam, Toulouse School of Economics

This paper examines the role of woman's empowerment on the individual risk of HIV-infection. In particular, we investigate how married women can reduce their own risk of infection by investing in female empowerment. In a simple theoretical model, it is demonstrated that woman can invest in empowerment with a view to reducing her husband's demand for extramarital sex, and hence reducing her own risk of becoming infected. Using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys collected in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, empirical findings confirm the infection risk reducing-effect of female empowerment among a sample of married women aged 15-49 years old, controlling for endogeneity.

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Presented in Session 92: Gender roles in African families