Paying Americans to take the vaccine - Would it help or backfire?

Christopher Robertson, Daniel Scheitrum, Aleks Schaefer, Trey Malone, Brandon R. McFadden, Kent D. Messer, Paul J. Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This research investigates the extent to which financial incentives (conditional cash transfers) would induce Americans to opt for vaccination against coronavirus disease of 2019. We performed a randomized survey experiment with a representative sample of 1000 American adults in December 2020. Respondents were asked whether they would opt for vaccination under one of three incentive conditions ($1000, $1500, or $2000 financial incentive) or a no-incentive condition. We find that - without coupled financial incentives - only 58 per cent 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberlsab027
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Law and the Biosciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Paying Americans to take the vaccine - Would it help or backfire?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this