When reality bites: local deaths and vaccine take-up

Corrado Giulietti, Michael Vlassopoulos, Yves Zenou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we investigate whether COVID-19 deaths that occurred before vaccination rollouts impact subsequent vaccination take-up. We use data on local vaccination rates and COVID-19-related deaths from England measured at high geographic granularity. We find that vaccination take-up as of November 2021 is positively associated with pre-vaccine COVID-19-related deaths, controlling for demographic, economic, and health-related characteristics of the localities, while including geographic fixed effects. In addition, the share of ethnic minorities in a locality is negatively associated with vaccination rates, and localities with a larger share of ethnic minorities increase their vaccination rates if they are exposed to more COVID-related-deaths. Further evidence on vaccination intention at the individual level from a representative sample corroborates these patterns. Overall, our evidence suggests that social proximity to victims of the disease triggers a desire to take protective measures against it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104463
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Behavior change
  • COVID-19
  • Information
  • Social interactions
  • Vaccination hesitancy

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