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A note of caution in interpreting crosscountry correlations of COVID-19 vaccination and infection rates

Francesco Bartolucci, Franco Peracchi () and Daniele Terlizzese
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Daniele Terlizzese: EIEF

No 2118, EIEF Working Papers Series from Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF)

Abstract: We show that the finding in Subramanian and Kumar (2021) of no discernible linear relationship between COVID-19 vaccination rates and new infection rates in a cross-section of countries is misleading, because it ignores the substantial degree of heterogeneity across countries. The latter reflects large differences in the stages of the infection and the vaccination process, healthcare systems, people's attitude towards vaccination, etc. In the presence of such heterogeneity simple correlations are hardly interpretable. This is a well-known phenomenon, sometimes referred to as the Simpon's paradox. Exploiting longitudinal data, they show that the estimated linear relationship becomes negative and statistically significant when controlling for time-invariant differences across countries.

Pages: 7 pages
Date: 2021, Revised 2021-12
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