Faculty Publication: Herd Immunity at What Price?

Jay Corrigan, Professor of Economics, has published the article “Herd Immunity at What Price? Using Auctions to Estimate what University Students Must be Paid to Get the Flu Vaccine” with co-authors Nick Clark and Matthew C. Rousu in Volume 23 of Preventive Medicine Reports. He has also placed opinion pieces on this subject with  Barron’s and Cincinnati.com.   

In this article, Professor Corrigan and his co-authors analyze and describe possible solutions to significant resistance to vaccinations. Their findings state that “fewer than half of adults get a flu shot in the United States in a typical year, and a large minority of Americans say they will not get vaccinated against COVID-19.” This resistance to vaccines creates challenges for both public health and the economy. They argue that academic literature needs to consider potential policy solutions that might increase vaccination rates. In their study, they use experimental auctions to estimate how much university students would need to be paid in exchange for agreeing to get a flu shot. Prior research has shown that the “perceived stakes of such auctions incentivize participants to estimate the price at which they would engage in the auctioned behavior – in this instance, receiving a flu shot.” Their research found that 50% require less than $1, and an additional 30% would get vaccinated for a payment of $20 or less. The study demonstrates that exploratory auctions may be useful for estimating how much a larger, more representative sample might need to be paid in exchange for consent to receive COVID-19 or flu vaccinations.

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