Are Anti-Vaxxers Anti-Social? How Convictions Shape Prosocial Behavior and Vaccination Decisions

Speaker:  Moti Michaeli - University of Haifa
  Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00 PM

As the Covid-19 pandemic entered its final stages, we examined the relationship between vaccination status and pro-social behavior among a large representative sample of Israeli adults (n=1,562) through the Dictator Game and the Trust Game. Surprisingly, we found a negative correlation between Covid-19 vaccination and pro-social behavior in both games. Does this mean that the non-vaccinated individuals are more pro-social? Not necessarily. Choosing to remain not vaccinated by the end of the pandemic indicates strong convictions. We propose that the large transfers made by the non-vaxxers in our experiment are another manifestation of these strong convictions: they are willing to incur higher costs in pursuit of what they perceive as the right course of action. Utilizing the richness of our data, we provide support for this convictions-based mechanism. Our key insights are incorporated in a formal model where the likelihood of individuals choosing actions that align with their preferences is determined by the strength of their convictions, which is heterogeneous in the population. The model explains all patterns observed in the data and highlights the important role played by convictions.

Programme Director
Marco Piovesan

External reference
Publication date
December 21, 2023