Depolarizing the COVID-19 Vaccine Passport

37 Pages Posted: 26 May 2021 Last revised: 22 Feb 2022

See all articles by Sebastian Guidi

Sebastian Guidi

Yale University, Law School

Alessandro Romano

Bocconi University - Department of Law

Chiara Sotis

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

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

Guidi, Sebastian and Romano, Alessandro and Sotis, Chiara, Depolarizing the COVID-19 Vaccine Passport (May 20, 2021). Yale Law Journal, Forthcoming, Bocconi Legal Studies Research Paper No. 3850152, Available at SSRN: or

Sebastian Guidi (Contact Author)

Yale University, Law School ( email )

Alessandro Romano

Bocconi University - Department of Law ( email )

Via Roentgen, 1
Milan, Milan 20136

Chiara Sotis

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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