Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Economics

Committee Chair

Kay Unger

Commitee Members

Amanda Golbeck, Ranjan Shrestha


AIDS education, sex education


University of Montana


Modern sex education recognizes that adolescents need formal guidance and information regarding sexuality and sexual behaviors. From an economic policy perspective, sex education is seen as an important tool in preventing costly social outcomes such as teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Previous literature has shown that sex education was associated with earlier initiation into sexual activity but not necessarily with increased pregnancy rates (Marsiglio and Mott 1984). The evidence has also shown that the relationship may not be causal (Sabia 2006). In order to better understand these conclusions, this thesis uses data from the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Study (YRBSS) to investigate how effective AIDS education policies are in influencing the more risky sexual behaviors in high school students. The results show that for some risky sexual behaviors, AIDS education significantly decreased the probability of their occurrence. AIDS education appears to have had more of an impact than the general or typical sex education programs evaluated in previous literature. However, future research is needed to determine if AIDS education is being provided in a way that is cost effective by making sure that the students who receive it are the ones who will benefit the most.



© Copyright 2009 Anna MacKenzie Iverson