Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/260321
Authors: 
Andersson, Ola
Campos-Mercade, Pol
Meier, Armando N.
Wengström, Erik
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
Working Paper No. 2020:29
Publisher: 
Lund University, School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Lund
Abstract: 
We show that the anticipation of COVID-19 vaccines reduces voluntary social distancing. In a large-scale preregistered survey experiment with a representative sample, we study whether providing information about the safety, effectiveness, and availability of COVID-19 vaccines affects compliance with public health guidelines. We find that vaccine information reduces peoples' voluntary social distancing, adherence to hygiene guidelines, and their willingness to stay at home. Vaccine information induces people to believe in a swifter return to normal life and puts their vigilance at ease. The results indicate an important behavioral drawback of the successful vaccine development: An increased focus on vaccines can lead to bad health behaviors and accelerate the spread of the virus. The results imply that, as vaccinations start and the end of the pandemic feels closer, existing policies aimed at increasing social distancing will be less effective and stricter policies might be required.
Subjects: 
Economic epidemiology
social distancing
vaccination
information
JEL: 
D83
D91
I12
I18
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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