Paper for “Health: A Social Science Exploration” (ECON 376)

The Cost of Vaccine Exemption: A Natural Experiment with Vaccine Exemption and Pertussis Incidence

Our research investigates the efficacy of removing vaccine exemptions, particularly pertaining to California’s rollback of its personal belief and religious vaccine exemptions in 2015, as well as New York’s removal of its religious exemption in 2019. If the arguments in favor of vaccine mandates have merit, then it is likely for a state to see a substantial decrease in cases as a result of an exemption’s elimination. Thus, we explore the effects of a ban on religious and philosophical exemptions on county-level disease data for pertussis (whooping cough). We expect that California and New York, states which have recently banned these exemptions, will see a change in the disease incidence of pertussis compared to other states (Arizona, Minnesota, and Florida) who have maintained exemption policies.


Research Presentation