Paying Americans to Take the Vaccine - Would it Help or Backfire?

Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 21-06

Boston Univ. School of Law Research Paper

Forthcoming, Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Vol. 8. Iss. 1. January-June 2021

30 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2021 Last revised: 22 Jun 2021

See all articles by Christopher T. Robertson

Christopher T. Robertson

Boston University; University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

Daniel Scheitrum

University of Arizona - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

K. Aleks Schaefer

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater - Department of Agricultural Economics

Trey Malone

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics

Brandon R. McFadden

University of Delaware

Paul Ferraro

Johns Hopkins University

Kent D. Messer

University of Delaware - Department of Applied Economics and Statistics

Date Written: March 11, 2021

Abstract

This research investigates the extent to which financial incentives (conditional cash transfers) would induce Americans to opt for vaccination against COVID-19. We performed a randomized survey experiment with a representative sample of 1,000 American adults in December 2020. Respondents were asked whether they would opt for vaccination under one of three incentive conditions ($1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 financial incentive) or a no-incentive condition. We find that—without coupled financial incentives—only 58% of survey respondents would elect for vaccination. A coupled financial incentive yields an 8-percentage-point increase in vaccine uptake relative to this baseline. The size of the cash transfer does not dramatically affect uptake rates. However, incentive responses differ dramatically by demographic group. Republicans were less responsive to financial incentives than the general population. For Black and Latino Americans especially, very large financial incentives may be counter-productive.

Note: Funding Statement: This work was incidental to other research funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, grant #2019-67023-29854. Research assistance (by Katelynn Maxwell) was supported by the N. Neal Pike Scholar fund at Boston University School of Law.

Declaration of Interests: The authors report no conflicting interests relevant to this work.

Ethics Approval Statement: An Institutional Review Board determined the project to be exempt.

Suggested Citation

Robertson, Christopher T. and Scheitrum, Daniel and Schaefer, K. Aleks and Malone, Trey and McFadden, Brandon R. and Ferraro, Paul and Messer, Kent D., Paying Americans to Take the Vaccine - Would it Help or Backfire? (March 11, 2021). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 21-06, Boston Univ. School of Law Research Paper , Forthcoming, Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Vol. 8. Iss. 1. January-June 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3798702 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3798702

Christopher T. Robertson (Contact Author)

Boston University ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
6179100649 (Phone)
02215 (Fax)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States

Daniel Scheitrum

University of Arizona - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ( email )

Tucson, AZ 95721-0023
United States

K. Aleks Schaefer

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater - Department of Agricultural Economics ( email )

Stillwater, OK 74078-6026
United States

HOME PAGE: http://kaleksschaefer.weebly.com/

Trey Malone

Michigan State University - Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics ( email )

MI
United States

Brandon R. McFadden

University of Delaware

Newark, DE 19711
United States

Paul Ferraro

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

Baltimore, MD 20036-1984
United States

Kent D. Messer

University of Delaware - Department of Applied Economics and Statistics ( email )

531 South College Ave
Newark, DE 19716
United States

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