A growing number of states, cities, and companies are offering incentives to encourage people to get vaccinated. And the sweeteners keep getting bigger and better.

New Jersey, for example, is picking up the tab for a free beer for anyone who can prove they got a shot. Maryland is offering state employees $100, while Lancaster, California, is trying to encourage teens to get inoculated by entering their names in a raffle for college scholarships worth up to $10,000. Not to be outdone, Ohio announced on May 12 that it was creating a lottery with prizes of up to a full four-year scholarship for newly vaccinated teens and $1 million for adults.

Meanwhile, companies are offering everything from paid time off and gift cards to doughnuts and a burger and french fries.

Of course the big question is, will any of this work?

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Health officials say herd immunity is critical to ending the pandemic, and that means having anywhere from 60% to 90% of a given population vaccinated, including children. But recent surveys suggest more than one-third of adults are at least reluctant to get the vaccine.

While behavioral economists generally study people’s decisions and the effect of incentives on behavior, my research at the Los Angeles Behavioral Economics Laboratory focuses more closely on why they make those decisions. I believe incentives can work, but there are two other important tools in policymakers’ behavioral toolkits as well.

Decision-making is guided by whether people perceive an option as rewarding or displeasing.

We evaluate decisions based on how we encode and recollect our own personal experiences, how costly we feel it is to choose one path or another, and how we process the information around us. In addition, the different communities we live in may reinforce certain messages over others.

Read the full article about COVID-19 vaccine incentives by Isabelle Brocas at Global Citizen.