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Short on shots: Are calls for cooperative restraint effective in managing a flu vaccines shortage?

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

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 were missing.

Suggested Citation

  • de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Villas-Boas, Sofia, 2010. "Short on shots: Are calls for cooperative restraint effective in managing a flu vaccines shortage?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 209-224, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:76:y:2010:i:2:p:209-224
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    Cited by:

    1. Sorensen, Andrea Lockhart, 2015. "Asymmetry, uncertainty, and limits in a binary choice experiment with positive spillovers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 43-55.
    2. Fleck, Robert K., 2014. "Can prohibitions on “price gouging” reduce deadweight losses?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 100-107.

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