Meet an IAS Residential Fellow: Jason Kerwin


Jason Kerwin
Applied Economics, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

IAS Faculty Fellow, Spring 2021


Overcoming Procrastination and Other Behavioral Barriers in the HIV Epidemic

Like many pressing global health challenges, HIV is now a problem of social science and human behavior—not a biomedical problem. At the IAS, I will work on a project that attempts to tackle that challenge by using appointments and financial commitment devices to try to overcome procrastination in HIV testing. Our preliminary results show that appointments are highly effective at increasing the uptake of HIV testing, which is critically important for getting people access to life-saving treatment. This work on HIV sits at the boundary between economics, medicine, public health, and psychology, and is informed by engagement with research from demography, sociology, anthropology, and political science. My hope is to benefit from insights from those fields, and also others, in trying to shed light on why appointments work so well. A better understanding of the mechanisms behind the benefits of appointments could also help with encouraging other preventive health activities, ranging from exercise to COVID-19 vaccinations.

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