Depolarizing the COVID-19 Vaccine Passport
37 Pages Posted: 26 May 2021 Last revised: 22 Feb 2022
Date Written: May 20, 2021
Vaccine passports are the latest hotly debated and highly polarizing issue in U.S. politics. Many experts consider them a key tool to safely restart the economy, while increasing vaccine take-up. However, just as many consider vaccine passports unfair and a threat to individual liberties and privacy. Yet vaccine passports are not as new as some commentators suggest. Proof of vaccination has long been required both to engage in some activities on the U.S.soil and to travel internationally. We carry out an online experiment with a sample of approximately 3200 Americans to investigate whether flagging that vaccine passports are not a novel idea can: i) increase the support for the COVID-19 vaccine passports; ii) lead more people to state that they intend to get vaccinated if a COVID PASS is introduced; iii) depolarize the views on the COVID PASS. We find strong evidence that this is possible. Our results are statistically significant and robust to a battery of controls. Moreover, our results suggest that the status quo bias can be an effective tool to depolarize a clearly identifiable set of issues.
Keywords: COVID-19, Immunity Passport, COVID-19 Vaccine, Behavioral Economics, Status Quo Bias, Polarization
JEL Classification: I12, I18, K00, Z3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation