Private Vaccination and Public Health: An Empirical Examination for U.S. Measles
This paper investigates the degree to which the occurrence of vaccine-preventable diseases affects vaccination efforts against such diseases. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey on measles vaccinations in the United States between 1984 and 1990, the paper shows there is strong evidence that the prevalence of measles in the respondent's state of residence reduces the age in months at which the first measles vaccination occurs. The paper argues that the more prevention of infectious disease responds to prevalence in this manner, the less it responds to price, thereby lowering the role of Pigouvian price subsidies and other demand-stimulating public health measures aimed at solving the under-provision of vaccines and other preventive efforts with positive external effects.