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The Economic Impact of HIV in South Africa

  • 2009-2010
  • Project
Zoe McLaren, University of Michigan

Study: “The Economic Impact of HIV in South Africa”
PI(s): Zoe McLaren
Institution(s): University of Michigan
Institutional Partner: IIE
Project Dates:
Start: 2009
End: 2010
Data Source(s): Panel
Methods: Fixed Effects Regression Analysis at the Community Level
Geographic Location(s): South Africa

This study examines the impact of access to AIDS treatment on employment outcomes in South Africa. Antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment offers promise as an effective policy intervention to improve the lives of the nearly 6 million South Africans who are HIV positive. In 2004, the government began the rollout of free ARV treatment in public health clinics. Generally, within three to six months of treatment initiation, health status dramatically improves and life expectancy increases. Recent studies have found ARV treatment to be associated with an increase in labor supply and a reduction in absenteeism. One would expect that the improvement in health from access to treatment would raise the productivity of sick workers, which should increase labor force participation, search activity, and employment rates. This research resulted in the creation of a new dataset that combines detailed, nationally representative economic data with data from public clinics that provide AIDS treatment. Analyzing data at the community level using seven consecutive waves of survey data from September 2004 to September 2007 provides the first evaluation of the government provision of ARV treatment in South Africa. The results of this study will provide guidance for the targeting of health service provision in limited-resource environments. Better alignment and coordination of health and labor policy can improve the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of government policies in both arenas.

Research Outputs:

Levinsohn, James et al. (2013). HIV Status and Labor Market Participation in South Africa. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 95(1): 98-108. DOI:10.1162/REST_a_00237

McLaren, Zoe. (2011). The Effect of Access to AIDS Treatment on Employment Outcomes in South Africa. (Doctoral dissertation). University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

McLaren, Zoe, Ardington, Cally & Leibbrandt, Murray. (2013). Distance as a barrier to health care access in South Africa (SALDRU Working Paper 97).

McLaren, Zoe, Ardington, Cally & Leibbrandt, Murray. (2014). Distance decay and persistent health care disparities in South Africa. BMC Health Services Research, 14(541). DOI:10.1186/s12913-014-0541-1

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