Demand for COVID-19 Antibody Testing, and Why It Should Be Free
26 Pages Posted: 22 May 2020 Last revised: 26 May 2020
Date Written: May 21, 2020
We study individual demand for COVID-19 antibody tests in an incentivized study on a representative sample of the US population. Almost 2,000 participants trade off obtaining an at-home test kit against money. At prices close to zero, 80 percent of individuals want the test. However, this broad support of testing falls sharply with price. Demand decreases by 19 percentage points per $10 price increase. Demand for testing increases with factors related to its potential value, such as age, increased length and strength of protective immunity from antibodies, and greater uncertainty about having had the virus. Willingness to pay for antibody tests also depends on income, ethnicity and political views. Trump-supporters demonstrate significantly lower willingness to pay for testing. Black respondents, even if critical of Trump’s approach to the crisis, pay less for testing than white and Hispanic respondents. If policy makers want a broad take-up of testing, the results suggest that tests should be for free.
Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Antibody Tests, Testing Markets, Information Preferences, Beliefs, Uncertainty
JEL Classification: D81, D91, I12, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation