Presidential Post-Doc Fellowship Job Talk: Irene Mussio

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Ehrlicher Room, 3100 North Quad

An (un)healthy social dilemma: using normative messaging to increase flu vaccinations


Prior research suggests that normative messaging can be used to increase voluntary provision of public goods. We extend the literature by examining the impact of normative messaging on a joint product: a flu vaccine. We conduct a field experiment in conjunction with University Health Services, targeting undergraduate students living on campus. The wording on the posters is varied to emphasize either the individual benefits of the vaccine, the social benefits of the vaccine or both benefits together. We find that highlighting both the individual and social benefits of vaccination has the strongest impact on vaccination turnout. The result is driven predominantly by females. This is consistent with previous literature suggesting that women are more sensitive to social cues and have stronger emotional reactions to risky situations.

Speaker Bio:

Irene Mussio is a fifth year PhD student at the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her main interests lie in the intersection between health economics and experimental and behavioral economics. Her current research focuses on investigating the relationship between health, risk and behavior using different tools, and in particular, experimental methods. She is currently interested in examining the interdependence between individual healthy and unhealthy decisions and in which way they are conditioned by risk preferences and individual and family history. Her job market paper analyzes how normative messaging could be used to increase the likelihood of individuals getting a flu vaccine. In addition, She is also exploring how health and other individual characteristics such as income instability and job uncertainty act as background risk and impact risk preferences and higher-order risk effects.

She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Universidad de la República Uruguay and her Master’s degree, also in Economics, from Universidad de Montevideo. She has taken resource economics and advanced econometric and experimental doctoral courses at LACEEP, CEMFI, Chapman University and the University of Gothenburg. She came to the United States with a Fulbright grant for postgraduate studies to attend the PhD program at UMass Amherst.