ABSTRACT. This project evaluates whether change in the level of economic policy uncertainty has implications on the search for information about condoms in the United States. Economic policy uncertainty raises questions about the current and prospective characteristics of government policy about the economy. The potentially negative implications of economic policy uncertainty on the financial security and well-being of citizens should encourage risk-averse decision-making. An increase in economic policy uncertainty then should compel many members of the public to consider the potential costs involved in experiencing unintended pregnancies and/or sexually transmitted infections. As a result, the proposal of this project is that an increase in economic policy uncertainty results in an increase in the search for information on the Internet about condoms. The empirical analyses conduct vector autoregression and moving average representation time series analyses of monthly information spanning between 2004 and 2013 about the economic policy uncertainty index developed by Baker, Bloom & Davis (2013), and the volume of Internet search interest reported by Google Trends about condoms. The results provide evidence that prior change in economic policy uncertainty predicts the current search interest level about condoms, such that higher economic policy uncertainty increases search interest about condoms. While prior research has focused on the behaviors of business firms when exploring the consequences of economic policy uncertainty, the research findings seen here give an indication that economic policy uncertainty can also have a role in the decision-making process of the mass public regarding personal health choices. pp. 7–30

Keywords: condoms; internet search interest; health information search; macroeconomics; sexually transmitted infections; pregnancy; risk-aversion; United States; Google Trends

How to cite: Olds, Christopher (2014), "Does Economic Policy Uncertainty Increase Information Search about Condoms on the Internet?," American Journal of Medical Research 1(2): 7–30.

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Department of Government
and International Affairs,
University of South Florida

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