Health Workers and Emergency Responders Offered Incentives to Get COVID-19 Vaccines
Some economists and politicians have proposed and supported the idea of paying Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Economist Robert Litan, PhD called the idea an “adult version of the doctor handing out candy to children.” While providing incentives to get the vaccine may seem like a reasonable and straightforward idea to some, research suggests that such initiatives could backfire by sending a message that an offer of payment implies there is increased risk or reduced value of the product, which is why financial incentives are being offered to buy or use the product.
An article in The New York Times noted, “Humans don’t respond to incentives like rats pressing levers for food; they try to interpret what being offered payment means. In this case, the offer risks implying that the vaccine is not a thing of value.”