Overcoming COVID-19 vaccination resistance when alternative policies affect the dynamics of conformism, social norms, and crowding out

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
June 22, 2021; vol. 118 no. 25
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/25

 

Social Sciences
Open Access
Overcoming COVID-19 vaccination resistance when alternative policies affect the dynamics of conformism, social norms, and crowding out
Katrin Schmelz and Samuel Bowles
PNAS June 22, 2021 118 (25) e2104912118; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2104912118
Significance
We provide a model of policy effectiveness to explore the dynamics of vaccine resistance, drawing on our panel data set. The key ideas motivating the model are that voluntary citizen compliance is essential to policy success even under enforcement and that compliance preferences are endogenous, possibly crowded out by enforcement or enhanced due to conformism as more other citizens comply. Our panel data tracks intraindividual changes in trust in public institutions and vaccine acceptance, allowing inferences about causal effects. Our contribution is the integration of three features: 1) a model of interaction of public policy and citizen preferences, 2) using appropriate data, and 3) allowing insights on how to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other important societal challenges.