Incentives and Defaults Can Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Intentions and Test Demand

67 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2021

See all articles by Marta Serra-Garcia

Marta Serra-Garcia

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Nora Szech

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Willingness to vaccinate and test are critical in the COVID-19 pandemic. We study the effects of two measures to increase the support of vaccination and testing: defaults and monetary compensations. Some organizations, such as restaurants, fire departments, hospitals, or governments in some countries, use these measures. Yet there is the concern that compensations could erode intrinsic motivation and decrease vaccination intentions. We show that, in the early stages of the pandemic, both approaches, compensations and defaults, significantly increased COVID-19 test demand and vaccine intentions. For vaccines, compensations need to be large enough because low compensations can backfire. We estimate heterogeneous treatment effects to document which groups are more likely to respond to these measures. The results show that defaults and avoidance of small compensations are especially important for individuals who are more skeptical of the vaccine, measured by their trust in the vaccine and their political views. Hence, both measures could be used in a targeted manner to achieve stronger results.

Keywords: choice architecture, defaults, incentives, Covid-19, vaccine hesitancy, test avoidance

JEL Classification: D010, D040, I120

Suggested Citation

Serra-Garcia, Marta and Szech, Nora, Incentives and Defaults Can Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Intentions and Test Demand (2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3827616 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3827616

Marta Serra-Garcia (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Nora Szech

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( email )

Kaiserstra├če 12
Karlsruhe, Baden W├╝rttemberg 76131
Germany

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