Socially active individuals interact with relatively high numbers of people and are therefore more likely to spread contagious diseases. Vaccinating socially active individuals can generate larger social benefits than vaccinating individuals at random. However, whether individuals who encounter many people are more likely to get vaccinated is an open empirical question. In this paper, we treat the social centrality of an individual’s occupation as a proxy for their overall social activeness. We construct a social centrality measure for every occupation from the Occupational Information Network. We find that workers’ centrality and flu vaccine uptake are positively correlated, but the correlation becomes statistically insignificant if we control for health care personnel. We also find that workers who face a greater risk of exposure to diseases are more likely to get vaccinated. These results suggest that when making vaccination decisions, individuals respond to the potential private risk of infection, but do not fully consider the externalities of their choices.
肖彦成，华南师范大学经济与管理学院助理教授，美国田纳西大学诺克斯维尔校区经济学博士，文章发表于European Economic Review。