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Author: Cunningham, Scott
Resulting in 2 citations.
1. Cornwell, Christopher M.
Cunningham, Scott
Sex Ratios and Risky Sexual Behavior
Presented: New York, NY, Society of Labor Economists Annual Meeting, May 2008 (Revised September 2008). Earlier versions presented PAA 2006, European Econometric Society 2007.
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: National Opinion Research Center - NORC
Keyword(s): Census of Population; Epidemiology; Geocoded Data; Incarceration/Jail; Racial Differences; Sex Ratios; Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Blacks have dramatically higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS, than Whites. Epidemiologists have suggested that these racial disparities persist because of there is more concurrent partnering in Black sexual networks. But this invites a question: why do Blacks have more concurrent sex partners? In this paper, we emphasize the relative shortage of men in Black communities, created largely by the high rates of Black male incarceration. We argue that the sex ratio imbalance shifts the bargaining power in relationships toward men, allowing some men to take additional partners. We also hypothesize that the sex ratio imbalance affects condom use, although the direction of the effect is ambiguous. A surplus of women may make it easier for a man to negotiate sex without condoms, but if the surplus leads to additional sex partners, it also increases the risks associated with unprotected sex.

We test these propositions using data from the 2000 Census Longform and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Geocode (which allows us to match sex ratios constructed from the Census data to NLSY states of residence). We exploit the fact that the overwhelming majority of sexual relationships occur between men and women of similar age, race and geographic location. We first estimate the effect of the sex ratio on the number of recent sex partners (our proxy for concurrency) using quantile regression, focusing the response in the right tail of the sex-partner distribution. Then, we examine the relationship between the sex ratio and condom use, using quantile regression to distinguish responses of individuals who rarely use condoms from those who typically do.

We find that the effect of moving from parity (100) to the average surplus of women (128) faced by 18-24 year-old black men adds .3 partners per year for average black male and 1-2 partners per year for black males in .90 percentile. We show that the same change in the sex ratio reduces condom-use rate for black men in .10 percentile by almost 14 points and increases the condom-use rate for median male by about 5 points.

Bibliography Citation
Cornwell, Christopher M. and Scott Cunningham. "Sex Ratios and Risky Sexual Behavior." Presented: New York, NY, Society of Labor Economists Annual Meeting, May 2008 (Revised September 2008). Earlier versions presented PAA 2006, European Econometric Society 2007.
2. Henry, Matthew
Cunningham, Scott
Do Statutory Rape Laws Work?
Working Paper, Social Science Research Network, March 2009.
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc.
Keyword(s): Age at First Intercourse; Crime; Sexual Behavior; State-Level Data/Policy

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Every state in the United States has laws which prohibit sexual activity with individuals under a certain age. These laws are typically strict liability. Generally, they are justified under the auspice of protecting young women from 'predatory' older males. However, nobody has examined the effectiveness of these laws. Using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys (NLSY), and exploiting the differences in the laws among states and over time, we examine whether the laws restricting the number of legal sexual partners delays the sexual debut of both males and females. We find that the laws are successful in accomplishing these goals. Overall, an additional 1 year of potential partners leads to about a 10% increase in the probability of sexual debut at any age.
Bibliography Citation
Henry, Matthew and Scott Cunningham. "Do Statutory Rape Laws Work?" Working Paper, Social Science Research Network, March 2009.