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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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Oxford University Press




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.

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