California To Offer $116M In Coronavirus Vaccine Prize Money
Speaker 1: 00:00 Besides the promise of not getting sick, taking off your mask, protecting friends, family, and society at large, what else could possibly encourage people to get their COVID vaccine? The state of California thing? So $116.5 million in gifts and cash might do the trick. The biggest bounty in governor Newsome's new VAX for the win program is a $1.5 million prize for each of 10 people who've received at least one dose of the vaccine by June 15th, state officials say it's hoped the cash prizes will boost demand for vaccinations. 49% of Californians are now fully vaccinated, but vaccinations have dropped in recent weeks from about 400,000 a day to closer to 200,000. Johnnie Mae is on a mirror of behavioral scientist and professor of marketing at UC San Diego and professor Amir. Welcome to the program. Thank you. Now it seems to many, including a doctor or two I've spoken with at being free from the fear of catching COVID, wouldn't be enough incentive to get vaccinated. Why then have many states now, including California, decided to offer prizes, to get people vaccinated. Speaker 2: 01:16 That's the one important thing to remember when thinking about problems like this is that not everyone is the same. And when doctors and experts speak, they tend to rely on their own set of knowledge and preferences and it varies or across the population. There are people who don't believe that COVID is a serious problem. And there are people who don't believe that the vaccine will solve it. So when thinking about policy, we have to think about the variety of people or, you know, in academia, recalling heterogeneity in preferences, in knowledge, and in thoughts about the vaccine. Speaker 1: 01:46 Now, if someone is really hesitant about getting the vaccine, is this slim chance of winning enough to motivate people, to get their shots. Speaker 2: 01:54 There are a lot of people that are not terrified for them for one reason or another, the cost benefit analysis of getting the vaccine. Just doesn't cut it. Think about the person who leaves far away and need to drive to get a three vaccine. That driving is a cost and they have to ask yourself themselves is it's worth it. And as we said, if there's heterogeneity across preferences or kind of around the vaccine and COVID in general and knowledge and other things, then that cost might be too large. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of an incentive to kind of even the scales. So one interesting thing about the California incentive, which is maybe different than some other places, there's this slim chance of winning a big prize, which has been shown to be effective in places, but there's also a guaranteed $50 if I read this correctly gift certificate. So there's, there's a shore gain of, of going and doing something. And if somebody somebody's on the fence and there's a lot of population, sort of a large portion of the population that's on the fence, that's $50 for sure. Is it gives them the easy. Why, why should I well, $50, Speaker 1: 03:01 No, sir. Experts seem to think that requiring a vaccine passport to allow people to take part in events and school and travel that that might be more effective than offering cash rewards for vaccinations. What's your opinion on that? Speaker 2: 03:16 So again, it really depends on what population you're talking about and why aren't they taking the vaccine. Let's say it's college students who don't feel that COVID is a big risk for them based on the numbers. Then they're not going to get vaccinated because maybe it's uncomfortable or, or not accessible or not easy or burdensome. But if it's a way to get something they want, say, get, go into Coachella or some other great festival, and then they might, other people are, are kind of not getting vaccinated for other reasons. And then the, this, these nudges, even financial crude actually kind of have a big effect. Speaker 1: 03:52 The cash for vaccination programs worked in other states. Do we know Speaker 2: 03:56 Yet they have seen a positive response? How long will this carry on is an open question. But the initial uptake was, was positive. Speaker 1: 04:05 This strategy of cash for vaccinations doesn't work. If we don't see a major increase in people getting their shots, what does that tell us about why vaccinations have dropped Speaker 2: 04:16 Off? There could be lots of lots of reasons, but it could be that, as I said, if we look at the mix of different reasons, then it could be that the reasons that are preventing people from getting vaccinated are much more emotional, are much more dire than what, you know, $50 can outweigh in terms of the perceived costs. And then you need to go with campaigns. If you were making for recall the campaigns that that happened to, to reduce the smoking. For example, they were very emotionally laid in. They were educational, they required many more months and years to take effect. And so, you know, to get at people who drank for one reason or another getting vaccinated, you would need to go with with different types of approaches. Speaker 1: 05:05 Yes. Is there anything as a marketing expert, you'd like to see the state add to this new program, either more money or change the timing of the program in any way to increase its effectiveness? Speaker 2: 05:18 So one of the things we know about incentives is that it really matters how they're framed. If this is, if this is framed as a raffle Kenyatta at the end of the party, stuff like that, it might have a more limited effect than if it's framed as it's yours and you might lose it if you don't go in and use it. So that's what, you know, the study at UCLA did, they sort of endowed people with, uh, with, with the vaccine and with the opportunity to get vaccinated and they would lose it if they, if they don't take action soon. So, so it turns out with all these incentives and marketers have known this for a long while it, how exactly framed incentives can have a great impact effect on, on their impact. And so I would hope that the state, you know, reads the literature, talks to experts and frames this in, in, in a way that that truly motivates people and that there are lots of facets to this framing, but I hope we do it right in Speaker 1: 06:16 Speaking with, on Amir, a behavioral scientist and professor of marketing at UC San Diego, professor Amir. Thank you so much for speaking with us. My pleasure. Thank you.