Cover: Private Choices and Public Health: The AIDS Epidemic in an Economic Perspective, from Harvard University PressCover: Private Choices and Public Health in HARDCOVER

Private Choices and Public Health

The AIDS Epidemic in an Economic Perspective

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Product Details


$74.50 • £59.95 • €67.00

ISBN 9780674707382

Publication Date: 01/01/1993


272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

29 line illustrations, 9 tables


Philipson and Posner show that an element of rational choice helps explain why the spread of AIDS has been less dire than originally predicted: as the risk has grown, so has the motivation for noninfected persons to adjust their behavior accordingly. Their ‘economic’ model has some surprising implications, for example that HIV testing can be counterproductive (since a ruthless person upon learning that he is infected will no longer have any motive to avoid risky sex). The authors’ careful, nonjudgmental study will help citizens arrive at a balanced understanding of the societal problems posed by this new great plague.—Jack Hirshleifer, University of California, Los Angeles

Philipson and Posner’s lucid and accessible book provides a novel perspective on the public health issues raised by the AIDS epidemic. By reexamining these questions through the framework of economic analysis, they force us to reconsider widely held assumptions about the likely effects of such diverse policies as mandatory and voluntary HIV testing, public educational campaigns, and laws prohibiting homosexual activity. Although the book’s arguments will surely provoke heated disagreement from both left and right, all thoughtful scholars of the epidemic, regardless of viewpoint or discipline, will profit from reading Private Choices and Public Health.—Sherry Glied, Columbia University School of Public Health

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