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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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    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

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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. Steven Stillman & Mirco Tonin, 2022. "Communities and testing for COVID-19," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 23(4), pages 617-625, June.
    3. Anna Kłak & Jolanta Grygielska & Małgorzata Mańczak & Ewelina Ejchman-Pac & Jakub Owoc & Urszula Religioni & Robert Olszewski, 2022. "Online Information of COVID-19: Visibility and Characterization of Highest Positioned Websites by Google between March and April 2020—A Cross-Country Analysis," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(3), pages 1-26, January.
    4. 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).
    5. Hein de Vries & Wouter Verputten & Christian Preissner & Gerjo Kok, 2022. "COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: The Role of Information Sources and Beliefs in Dutch Adults," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(6), pages 1-17, March.
    6. Meng Zhen Larsen & Michael R. Haupt & Tiana McMann & Raphael E. Cuomo & Tim K. Mackey, 2023. "The Influence of News Consumption Habits and Dispositional Traits on Trust in Medical Scientists," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(10), pages 1-13, May.
    7. Arthur Juet, 2023. "The Online Vaccination Debate : The Case of France," Working Papers hal-04053614, HAL.
    8. 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.
    9. Felix Chopra & Ingar K. Haaland & Christopher Roth, 2021. "The Demand for Fact-Checking," CESifo Working Paper Series 9061, CESifo.
    10. Hirani, Jonas Cuzulan & Wüst, Miriam, 2023. "Reminder Design and Childhood Vaccination Coverage," IZA Discussion Papers 15877, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. 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.
    12. Giulietti, Corrado & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Zenou, Yves, 2023. "When reality bites: Local deaths and vaccine take-up," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
    13. Angelika Bernsteiner & Thomas Schubatzky & Claudia Haagen-Schützenhöfer, 2023. "Misinformation as a Societal Problem in Times of Crisis: A Mixed-Methods Study with Future Teachers to Promote a Critical Attitude towards Information," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(10), pages 1-22, May.
    14. Sofia Amaral-Garcia & Mattia Nardotto & Carol Propper & Tommaso Valletti, 2023. "Information and vaccine hesitancy: the role of broadband Internet," Papers 2023-04, Centre for Health Economics, Monash University.
    15. 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.
    16. Hirani, Jonas Lau-Jensen, 2021. "Inattention or reluctance? Parental responses to vaccination reminder letters," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    17. Verzulli, R.; & Lippi Bruni, M.;, 2022. "The quicker the better: Fostering timely responses in public hospitals," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 22/08, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. Cristina M. Pulido & Laura Ruiz-Eugenio & Gisela Redondo-Sama & Beatriz Villarejo-Carballido, 2020. "A New Application of Social Impact in Social Media for Overcoming Fake News in Health," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(7), pages 1-15, April.

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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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