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Vaccine Hesitancy and Fake News: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Italy

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  • Carrieri, V.;
  • Madio, L.;
  • Principe, F.;

Abstract

The spread of fake news and misinformation on social media is blamed to be one of the main causes of vaccine hesitancy, one of the ten threats to global health according to World Health Organization. This paper studies the effect of diffusion of fake news on immunization rates in Italy by exploiting a quasi-experiment occurred in 2012, when the Court of Rimini officially recognized a causal link between MMR vaccine and autism and awarded injury compensation. To this end, we exploit virality of fake news following the 2012 Italian Court’s ruling along with the intensity in the exposure to non-traditional media driven by regional infrastructural differences in Internet broadband coverage. Using a Difference-in-Difference (DiD) regression on regional panel data, we show that the spread of fake news caused a drop in children immunization rates for all types of vaccines.

Suggested Citation

  • Carrieri, V.; & Madio, L.; & Principe, F.;, 2019. "Vaccine Hesitancy and Fake News: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Italy," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 19/03, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:19/03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    6. Lesley Chiou & Catherine Tucker, 2018. "Fake News and Advertising on Social Media: A Study of the Anti-Vaccination Movement," NBER Working Papers 25223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Rita Faria’s journal round-up for 26th August 2019
      by Rita Faria in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2019-08-26 11:00:18

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carrieri, Vincenzo & Principe, Francesco, 2022. "WHO and for how long? An empirical analysis of the consumers’ response to red meat warning," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    2. Giulietti, Corrado & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2021. "When Reality Bites: Local Deaths and Vaccine Take-Up," GLO Discussion Paper Series 999, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Felix Chopra & Ingar K. Haaland & Christopher Roth, 2021. "The Demand for Fact-Checking," CESifo Working Paper Series 9061, CESifo.
    4. Sven Grüner & Felix Krüger, 2021. "The intention to be vaccinated against COVID-19: stated preferences before vaccines were available," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(21), pages 1847-1851, December.
    5. Chopra, Felix & Haaland, Ingar & Roth, Christopher, 2021. "The Demand for Fact-Checking," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1357, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    6. Brilli, Ylenia & Lucifora, Claudio & Russo, Antonio & Tonello, Marco, 2020. "Influenza vaccination behavior and media reporting of adverse events," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 124(12), pages 1403-1411.
    7. Ibrahim Niankara & Riham Muqattash & Aminata Niankara & Rachidatou I. Traoret, 2020. "COVID-19 Vaccine Development in a Quadruple Helix Innovation System: Uncovering the Preferences of the Fourth Helix in the UAE," JOItmC, MDPI, vol. 6(4), pages 1-25, November.
    8. Stephanie L. Chan, 2021. "The Social Value of Public Information When Not Everyone is Privately Informed," Working Papers 2021-09-18, Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE), Xiamen University.
    9. Forman, Rebecca & Shah, Soleil & Jeurissen, Patrick & Jit, Mark & Mossialos, Elias, 2021. "COVID-19 vaccine challenges: What have we learned so far and what remains to be done?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(5), pages 553-567.
    10. Hirani, Jonas Lau-Jensen, 2021. "Inattention or reluctance? Parental responses to vaccination reminder letters," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    11. Claudio Deiana & Andrea Geraci & Gianluca Mazzarella & Fabio Sabatini, 2022. "Perceived risk and vaccine hesitancy: Quasi‐experimental evidence from Italy," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(6), pages 1266-1275, June.
    12. Vincenzo Carrieri & Raffele Lagravinese & Giuliano Resce, 2021. "Predicting vaccine hesitancy from area‐level indicators: A machine learning approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(12), pages 3248-3256, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fake news; vaccine hesitancy; children immunization rates; social media; internet;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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