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Short on Shots: Are Calls on Cooperative Restraint Effective in Managing the Scarcity of Flu Vaccines?

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Author Info

  • de Janvry, Alain
  • Sadoulet, Elisabeth
  • Villas-Boas, Sofia B

Abstract

We conducted a randomized experiment at the time of the 2004 flu vaccine shortage, providing information about the sharply reduced number of clinics and their schedule, and an appeal on cooperative restraint to a campus population. This strategy was intended to reduce demand for vaccination among non-priority individuals and to free available supplies for the priority population. It failed to achieve its purpose. Information induced a net increase in vaccines distributed and, perversely, the net increase originated entirely in non-priority individuals. The surprising finding is that calls on cooperative restraint induced an uncalled for positive response among priority individuals, while they induced an increase in cheating among non-priority individuals. Age as a qualifying factor was in particular widely abused, with the number of “65 years old†more than twice the predicted value, while about half of the predicted 61-64 years old are missing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt8h7125w3.

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Date of creation: 17 Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt8h7125w3

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Keywords: Randomized experiment; shortage; self-restraint; cheating.; Medicine and Health Sciences; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

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  1. Esther Dufluo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Bowman, David & Minehart, Deborah & Rabin, Matthew, 1999. "Loss aversion in a consumption-savings model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 155-178, February.
  3. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys," IEW - Working Papers 040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  6. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8jd5z5j2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  7. Azar, Ofer H., 2004. "What sustains social norms and how they evolve?: The case of tipping," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 49-64, May.
  8. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2000. "Trust Breeds Trust: How Taxpayers are Treated," CESifo Working Paper Series 322, CESifo Group Munich.
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