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The law and economics of Grindr: A response to Carson

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-453
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Law, Medicine and Ethics
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2019

Abstract

In the Winter 2017 edition of JLME, Dr. Carson outlined an economic approach to the epidemiology of HIV transmission within the gay community, with a special emphasis on mobile apps. His conclusion is that HIV transmission amongst the gay community constitutes a collective action problem, which is resolved by the social norm of using a condom. This article critiques Dr. Carson's approach from an economic perspective. By utilizing classic law and economic theory, this article will argue that HIV transmission may not, in fact, constitute a collective action problem in economic terms, and that instead condom use as a method of disease protection in theory can arise from purely rational, market driven actions. To do so, it borrows from transactional theory of information asymmetry to show the potential to alert counterparts as to serostatus. This conclusion provides an important supplement to Carson: rather than social norms being the core driver in condom usage to prevent HIV, instead condom use may arise solely as a result of rational, private decision making arising from market signalling. The article then critiques its own findings to demonstrate that it is unclear whether Carson's argument or the argument in this paper is, indeed, correct — which may represent a limitation in the analytical techniques advanced.

    Research areas

  • Law and Economics, collective action

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