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Demand for Covid-19 Antibody Testing, and Why It Should Be Free

Marta Serra-Garcia and Nora Szech

No 8340, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: We study individual demand for Covid-19 antibody tests in an incentivized study on a representative sample of the US population. Almost 2,000 participants trade off obtaining an at-home test kit against money. At prices close to zero, 80 percent of individuals want the test. However, this broad support of testing falls sharply with price. Demand decreases by 19 percentage points per $10 price increase. Demand for testing increases with factors related to its potential value, such as age, increased length and strength of protective immunity from antibodies, and greater uncertainty about having had the virus. Willingness to pay for antibody tests also depends on income, ethnicity and political views. Trump-supporters demonstrate significantly lower willingness to pay for testing. Black respondents, even if critical of Trump’s approach to the crisis, pay less for testing than white and Hispanic respondents. If policy makers want a broad take-up of testing, the results suggest that tests should be for free.

Keywords: coronavirus; Covid-19; antibody tests; testing markets; information preferences; beliefs; uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D81 D91 I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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