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To vaccinate or not? What drives people's decision-making in times of COVID-19

Katrin Schmelz, psychologist and behavioral economist at the Cluster, investigates the factors that influence decision-making: How can the government ensure compliance with measures to stop the virus? Why do vaccination campaigns lose effectiveness? What will the reaction be if – when? – governments must enforce mandatory vaccination?

Katrin Schmelz is a psychologist and behavioral economist at the Cluster of Excellence “The Politics of Inequality” at the University of Konstanz and the Thurgau Economic Institute (TWI). She studies the relationship between (intrinsic) motivation and incentives, and the influence of culture and institutions on behavior. She holds a postgraduate degree in psychology (University of Jena). Her PhD dissertation in economics at the Max Planck Institute for Economics in Jena received the Heinz Sauermann Prize of the GfeW (German Association for Experimental Economic Research e.V.). Two of her recent papers on how anti-COVID-19 policies change citizens’ preferences and beliefs appeared in PNAS. She has also published in Experimental Economics, The Journal of Neuroscience, and Human Brain Mapping. Her commentary on public policy have appeared in the Washington Post, Tagesthemen, Deutschlandfunk, LSE COVID-19 blog, Ökonomenstimme, VOX.eu and other media outlets around the world.

The German Science Media Center notes Katrin Schmelz as an expert in their press briefing "Die deutsche Impfkampagne stockt – Gründe, Lösungen, Perspektiven" ("The German vaccination campaign is faltering – reasons, solutions, perspectives"; German only). Recently she gave an expert interview to news show tagesschau24, which can be watched here.

Original publications:
Katrin Schmelz (2021). Enforcement may crowd out voluntary support for Covid-19 policies, especially where trust in government is weak and in a liberal society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 118(1).
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2016385118

Katrin Schmelz, Samuel Bowles (2021): Overcoming COVID-19 Vaccination Resistance When Alternative Policies Affect the Dynamics of Conformism, Social Norms and Crowding-Out. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 118(25).
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2104912118