Preferences, Expectations, and the Prediction of Health and Economic Behavior

HIV/AIDS has led to substantial declines in life expectancy in many parts of Africa. This may be causing people to alter their forward-looking behaviors in ways that are deleterious to future development prospects. At the same time, there is an increasing emphasis on the scale-up of HIV prevention interventions such as male circumcision. Understanding people’s behavioral responses to declining life expectancy and their decisions to take E40up prevention interventions requires data on their risk preferences, inter-temporal preferences, and subjective life expectancy -- all of which play a central role in models of individual decision-making. However, these attitudes are rarely measured in population-based socioeconomic surveys in developing countries. The career development activities allow Dr. Thirumurthy to combine insights from economics and psychology and apply them in ways that provide a better understanding of individuals’ health behaviors as well as their behavioral responses to reduced life expectancy. Measuring and validating individuals’ preferences and expectations using state-of-the-art techniques allows examination of how people form, and revise, these attitudes.

Principal Investigator: Harsha Thirumurthy

Funding Source: NIH NICHD

Grant Number: K01HD061605

Funding Period: 8/15/2011 - 7/31/2017

Primary Research Area: Population Health,Reproductive Health

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