| 08.10.2021

New study: Higher rate of vaccination when offered monetary compensation

Many countries in Europe are struggling to achieve higher vaccination coverage in the fight against covid-19. This has raised the question of how more people could be motivated to take the vaccine. A new study, which Hanken School of Economics has been involved in and which was published in the scientific journal Science, shows that a small payment equivalent to 20 euros made more people get vaccinated in Sweden.

- In the survey, some participants were offered a reward of 20 euros (200 SEK) if they were vaccinated within 30 days. This led to the vaccination rate increasing by 4 percentage points from 72% to 76%, says Erik Wengström, professor of economics and active at Hanken and Lund University and one of the authors of the study.

The survey was conducted between May and July in Sweden and included just over 8,000 people aged 18-49. The people were randomly divided into different groups, some of which were offered 20 euros if they were vaccinated within 30 days. The others were given information about the vaccine or asked to focus on the positive effects the vaccine has on others.

- It was only in the group that received a payment for vaccination that the willingness to vaccinate increased compared with the control group. Interestingly, the willingness to vaccinate increased among those who received monetary compensation regardless of gender, age or educational background, says Pol Campos-Mercade, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen and one of the authors of the study.

Various types of incentives for vaccination have been offered around the world. Everything from sausages to money has been offered to those who have agreed to be vaccinated. As these initiatives have lacked a control group, it has not been possible to draw any definite conclusions if they have actually led to an increased willingness to vaccinate. The structure of this new study makes it possible to credibly assess the effect of rewards because the participants were randomly divided into different groups.

The study does not take a stand on whether rewards should be introduced. To answer this, a broader discussion is needed, which also includes ethical considerations and takes into account the long-term vaccination strategy.

- The results of the study emphasise that payments can be an effective way to increase the willingness to get vaccinated. Although we cannot say whether payments should be introduced, the study shows that financial incentives are one of the tools that decision-makers should look into and seriously consider introducing, says Erik Wengström.
The entire study can be read here

The following researchers participated in the study:
Pol Campos-Mercade, Researcher in economics, University of Copenhagen.
Armando N. Meier, Researcher in economics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Florian H. Schneider, Researcher in economics, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Stephan Meier, Professor, Columbia Business School, Columbia University, USA.
Devin Pope, Professor, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago; Chicago and the National Bureau of Economic Research; Boston, USA.
Erik Wengström, Professor, School of Economics and Management at Lund University and Hanken School of Economics

Erik Wengström
Professor of Economics