The Indicator from Planet Money - How Do You Get People To Get A Vaccine?

What's the best way to persuade people to get a vaccine? A new study from the University of Pennsylvania may have the answer.

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Man is a professor of operations information and decisions at Wharton and the author of this book had to change the science of getting from where you are to where you want to be. And she said, when news of the covid vaccine first, broke, and everyone was talking about Cold Storage Supply, chains and transportation issues. She and her team of Behavioral scientist and Economist immediately thought of something else. We looked at each other and we said there's one other thing you weren't thinking about people to take them. So we built for the biggest study that I think it's ever been done quite quickly on figuring out what kind of messaging would be most effective on vaccinations Katie's team decided they were going to put together this study. We got together with Walmart, Northeast pain, medicine and Geisinger. Health partnering, with thousands of doctors, and pharmacies all across the country reaching more than 700,000 patients. And the used text messages to test out.

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Different kinds of messaging and incentives to see how effective different things were at, getting people to go and get their flu shot. We tested literally dozens of messages, encouraging people to do it to protect the other people that they loved rather than out of self-interest try jokes. Like makes it more like hearted and they're more likely to do it. To remember, what the joke was, it was a. What we had two couple versions of it, but the joke was basically have. You heard the one about the flu? Don't spread it around.

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Right now, Katie's research is super relevant as businesses and legislators all over the country are trying different things to encourage people to get vaccinated. And this week the governor of Ohio announced the plan where vaccinated teens in the state could be eligible for free college tuition and vaccinated adult will be entered into a lottery. Winner will receive $1000000 vaccine in Ohio could make you a millionaire. This is the indicator from Planet Money. I'm Stacey Vanek Smith. What work? How do you get people to get a vaccine? Does the carrot approach work better or the stick?

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So before we got to the whole vaccine issue, I had a general question for Wharton's Katy Milkman when it comes to sort of carrots versus sticks. What tends to be more effective when you're trying to incentivize people, the general finding from behavioral economics, is that losing? Something is significantly more motivating than gaining, the equivalent. So if it's in terms of their motivational power, now there are some caveats that caveat like the stick approach. While effective can make people really angry, which is not ideal. If you are a company or a politician experiment from a Michigan, primary election in 2006, trying to encourage people to vote researcher sent out mailers, that included, the voting records of people and their neighbors seem strategy. So, they're finding out if you showed up, just as you can see, if they've showed up, and we're going to update everyone in the neighborhood on who comes to this election.

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So you'd better go or your neighbor has will find out you didn't and that one piece of junk mail increase voter turnout by 8 percentage points, which is like the most unbelievable of the fact that anything is ever had. People were so. So angry about this, right? Absolutely in. It was effective, but it had massive blow back. So the stick approach is tricky. Specially when it comes to something like a vaccine, but the carrot approaches turkey to is this Katie. Carrots can backfire liked having the wrong person. And courage, then went to get a vaccine shot, can make that person less likely to get the shot and in the case of paying people to get the vaccine, the amount of money seems to be key. Katie says, there are these studies that have shown that smaller amount of money can backfire. So we're paying people $100 to get a vaccine my work and get more people to get back to needed paying people. $20 can actually discourage people from getting a vaccine

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Small payments can convey to people some sense that there's a higher risk, and whatever activity is is being encouraged or else. Like why would you need to pay me to do it? And so I do think so too. Small payment can be risky, the Insurance and financial services giant with the carrot route. It did not opt cash though and that's probably good because that would have gotten very expensive. How many employees do you guys have roughly 50,000 globally and about a hundred and twenty countries? Really, it's like a city Kelly. Clark is head of culture and change at Aon. She said the company wanted to encourage workers to get it back scene. So they did research and asked workers what was keeping them from getting vaccinated. One of the things they heard worries about side effects. So and offered workers who got vaccinated two days off per shot Kelly would not say if that actually caused more workers to get the vaccine but you did say the approach has been really popular. If you're choosing and

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Raving about how you're going to manage getting your work done, delivering on your work, commitments. And also receiving the vaccine we want to help you in that and so it's been met with real gratitude. Milkman at Wharton, has been watching all of these different approaches, companies and governments are taking with great interest. See what works but doesn't in her study. She says the findings were not at all what you expected. The least effective approach for instance, was this kind of cool kids are doing it. Text message that did not work. I think was people who are wealthier and better educated.

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Are more likely to get vaccines so you should too. So we thought you don't like saying don't you want to be in this identity group of people did not like that but pure pressure was effective in a different form like talking about just how many people were getting the vaccine. Like you should come to the party. Everybody else is coming. Off and works but another thing to jump that was it's good to nag people. Sometimes we met them once and sometimes twice as good and the joke member have you heard the one about the flu? Don't spread it around. I thought that was so cute. Would capture people's attention? Make them laugh. Like relieve a little bit of the stress.

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Worst performers. Kenny says the one message to that way above the rest, it was far-and-away more effective than any other method of getting people to get a flu shot. It was not a carrot or a stick. The top-performing message simply communicated that a vaccine has been reserved for you. So, it was a very simple, very dry message, like none of the cute back and forth that we were. So hoping would be effective, but this very clinical we've set one aside. It's reserved for you come and get it. Why is that like why? What's going on in our little heads. So there's a lot of things that happen when there's sort of a default. That's what an economist would call this. A default is, there's an assumption that this is what's recommended by the policy maker who's sending this to me. And if that's someone, I trust then, I think so. All you're like, telling me to get it and, and you're making it really easy. I don't have to lift a finger to go to that website that's been set up where I can find an appointment by typing. My ZIP code, you think that's a really small poop.

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To pay. But this fits people are really lazy and it's much easier. It's already been arranged for me and I don't have to think about anything. I just have to be there and by the way I'm going to feel like a jerk if I don't show up cuz you scheduled me for an appointment. So I'm I'm canceling on someone now. So there's all of the psychology that the seems like it's probably playing into the effectiveness of these tactics. He says some companies are doing things like this and bringing back scenes to the office, offering them to workers on site. Still she says no one approach is going to work on anyone, so it's good. The different places are trying different things because you just never know what's going to speak to people. She says, you know, the smallest nudge can make a difference. Were a huge, push will fail for instance, Krispy Kreme, which offers people free donuts if they show them their vaccine card, my favorite Twitter post of what it was someone saying, he thought it was the garbage, uncle said that's what Uncle like

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I just wanted to free donuts daily. You get a free free today, free donut so much better than a carrot.

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This episode of the indicator was produced by Brittany Cronin with help from Billy moon was fact-checked by Samsung. By the indicator is edited by Kate concannon and is a production of NPR.

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Today, it seems like everybody's got a bone to pick with a nose. So what happens when somebody stops talking smack and just decides to wage all-out war with the communications of the enemy. And what happens if they win? Visit Stockton California for a story about a revolt against the mainstream media but shaken up the city from NPR's invisibilia.
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