Title

Comparative effectiveness of mandates and financial policies targeting COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy: A randomized, controlled survey experiment

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-30-2022

ISSN

0264-410X

Publisher

Elsevier

Language

en-US

Abstract

Experts debate whether COVID-19 vaccine mandates or financial incentives will reduce, rather than increase, interest in vaccination. Among 3,698 unvaccinated U.S. residents, we conducted a randomized, controlled survey-embedded experiment to estimate the absolute and relative psychological effects of vaccine policies specifying: mandates by employers or airlines, bars, and restaurants; lotteries for $1 million, $200,000, or $100,000; guaranteed cash for $1000, $200, or $100; and $1,000 as either a tax credit or penalty. Vaccine intention —the study outcome— predicts uptake and provides insight into the psychological mechanism that is most proximal to behavior (i.e., vaccination). Compared to controls, those who learned about the $1,000 cash reward policy were 17.1 (±5.3)% more likely to want vaccination. Employer mandates are more promising than other mandate policies (8.6 [+/- 7.4]% vs. 1.4 [+/- 6.0]%). The full results suggest that neither mandates nor financial incentives are likely to have counterproductive psychological effects. These policies are not mutually exclusive and, if implemented well, they may increase vaccine uptake.

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