Persuasion in Medicine: Messaging to Increase Vaccine Demand
High-value preventive care is often underutilized. We study persuasion regarding the medical benefits of influenza vaccination by experimentally varying race concordance between sender and receiver, and, among Black respondents, a discordant sender’s acknowledgement of historical injustice and the expertise of a concordant sender. Race concordance improves ratings of the sender and signal among Black respondents but has no effect among White respondents. Acknowledgement of injustice improves signal ratings as much as concordance, though neither alters vaccine behavior except among those previously vaccinated. Non-expert concordant senders increase intended and self-reported vaccine take-up the most, particularly among individuals with no vaccination experience.
We thank Minjeong Joyce Kim and Nikhil Shankar for excellent research assistance. We also thank Mackenzie Alston, Luca Braghieri, Amitabh Chandra, Stefano DellaVigna, Esther Duflo, Matthew Gentzkow, Damon Jones, Kosali Simon, MarianneWanamaker, Crystal Yang, JPAL North America Board and Reviewers as well as participants in seminars at ASSA, Brown University, Harvard/MIT/BU Health Economics, Stanford, UCSB, UCSD, andWashington University in St. Louis for comments. The study was approved by IRB at Harvard University (IRB19-1424) and registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04160975), AEA RCT registry (AEARCTR-0004796), and OSF (DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/XJ5WP). Funding provided by J-PAL North America and Harvard Kennedy School. Research reported in this publication was also supported by the National Institute on Aging under award number P30AG064190. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors have no conflicts to disclose. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.