Paying Americans to Take the Vaccine - Would it Help or Backfire?
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
Date Written: March 11, 2021
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.
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