Stanford University


Counter-stereotypical Messaging and Partisan Cues: Moving the Needle on Vaccines in a Polarized United States

Bradley J. Larsen
Timothy J. Ryan
Steven Greene
Marc J. Hetherington
Rahsaan Maxwell
Steven Tadelis

July 19. 2023

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This paper reports results from a large-scale randomized controlled trial assessing whether counter-stereotypical messaging and partisan cues can induce people to get COVID-19 vaccines. The study used a 27-s video compilation of Donald Trump’s comments about the vaccine from Fox News interviews and presented the video to millions of U.S. YouTube users through a $100,000 advertising campaign in October 2021. Results indicate that the number of vaccines increased in the average treated county by 103 (with a one-tailed P value of 0.097). Based on this average treatment effect and totaling across our 1014 treated counties, the total estimated effect was 104,036 vaccines.

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Stanford University