I liked a recent blog post by Megan Mcardle on sex education. She points to research that shows that DARE, the anti-drug program that encourages kids "to just say no", has been shown to have no impact on drug use. This result is one of my father’s favorite, because it demonstrates that showing something has no impact is often as important as showing something has an impact.
Mcardle then questions if drug education doesn’t work, then perhaps sex education does not either. But she does not cite any studies. I looked around, this article in the Journal of Health Economics suggests that Aids education in the US increases contraceptive use, but does not hasten or increase sexual activity.
I’m not able to read it, but this meta-study of 83 studies finds that some (not all) Aids education programs reduce sexual risky behavior and do not increase activity. So based on a brief literature review (i.e. Google Scholar/Econlin check),
I don’t think we can say that sex education does not work like DARE.
I think we can all agree though the best alternative is not to tax sex as Steven Dubner proposes over at Freakonomics.