“Male Circumcision, Peer Effects and Risk Compensation” by Dr. Hyuncheol Bryant Kim
Hyuncheol Bryant Kim
This paper uses a four-year long follow-up of an intervention based on a two-step randomized design within classrooms in secondary schools in Malawi to understand the impact of male circumcision on risky sexual behaviors and the role that peers play in the decision and consequences of being circumcised. Our analysis yields three main results. First, we show that the intervention substantially increased the demand for male circumcision for the students assigned to the treatment group. Second, we find evidence of positive peer effects in the decision to get circumcised among untreated students. Third, we find evidence of risk compensation using biomarkers of sexually transmitted infection for those who got circumcised due to the intervention, but not for those induced by peer effects. We discuss the implication of these results for research on HIV prevention as well as peer effects.