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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 24;9(1):e87164. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087164. eCollection 2014.

Free-riding behavior in vaccination decisions: an experimental study.

Author information

  • 1Graduate School of Economics, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.
  • 2Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, United States of America.
  • 3Health Economics and Outcomes Research, Kantar Health, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America.
  • 4Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, United States of America.
  • 5Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2014;9(3):e94066.

Abstract

Individual decision-making regarding vaccination may be affected by the vaccination choices of others. As vaccination produces externalities reducing transmission of a disease, it can provide an incentive for individuals to be free-riders who benefit from the vaccination of others while avoiding the cost of vaccination. This study examined an individual's decision about vaccination in a group setting for a hypothetical disease that is called "influenza" using a computerized experimental game. In the game, interactions with others are allowed. We found that higher observed vaccination rate within the group during the previous round of the game decreased the likelihood of an individual's vaccination acceptance, indicating the existence of free-riding behavior. The free-riding behavior was observed regardless of parameter conditions on the characteristics of the influenza and vaccine. We also found that other predictors of vaccination uptake included an individual's own influenza exposure in previous rounds increasing the likelihood of vaccination acceptance, consistent with existing empirical studies. Influenza prevalence among other group members during the previous round did not have a statistically significant effect on vaccination acceptance in the current round once vaccination rate in the previous round was controlled for.

PMID:
24475246
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3901764
Free PMC Article
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