The Effects of Male Incarceration Dynamics on AIDS Infection Rates among African-American Women and Men

Rucker C. Johnson, University of California, Berkeley
Steven Raphael, University of California, Berkeley

We investigate the connection between incarceration dynamics and AIDS, with particular emphasis on the black-white AIDS rate disparity. Using case-level data from the CDC (1982-2001), we model the dynamic relationship between male and female AIDS rates and the proportion of men in the age/state/race-matched cohort that are incarcerated. We find very strong effects of male incarceration on both male and female AIDS rates. The dynamic structure of this relationship parallels the incubation time between HIV infection and onset of full-blown AIDS documented in the medical/epidemiological literature. These results are robust to controls for year and age*race*state fixed effects. Our results reveal that high black male incarceration rates explain a substantial share of the racial disparity in AIDS among women and men. We estimate two-stage-least-squares models of AIDS using intra-state changes in sentencing regimes as instruments for incarceration rates. We find large, significant TSLS effects of incarceration on AIDS rates.

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Presented in Session 4: Sexual Behavior, Sexual Networks, and STDs