To educate a woman and to educate a man: Gender-specific sexual behaviour and HIV responses to an education reform in Botswana
Education has been suggested as a ‘vaccine’ against HIV infection, but there is not much causal evidence behind this claim. Moreover, the few studies that exist on the impact of education on HIV infection and related outcomes have focused mostly on women, despite the fact that there are reasons to expect the responses of women and men to differ. This study analyses mechanisms that link education to HIV with a focus on gender differences, using data from four nationally representative surveys in Botswana. To estimate the casual effect, an exogenous one-year increase of junior secondary school is used, which in previous studies has been found to reduce HIV infection rates and increase incomes. The key finding is that women and men responded differently to the reform. It led to delayed sexual debut by up to a year among women and an increase in risky sex among men, measured by number of concurrent sexual partnerships and the likelihood of paying for sex. The increase in risky sex among men is likely to be due to the reform’s positive impact on income. The school reform reduced the likelihood of HIV infection among women, but had no statistically significant impact on this variable among men.
JEL: I12, I15, I25, I26