Political Economy

Understanding Demand for COVID-19 Antibody Testing

  • Author:

    Marta Serra Garcia and Nora Szech

  • Date: May 2020
  • 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, and uncertainty about having had the virus. Yet it also depends on income, ethnicity and political views. Blacks, compared to whites and Hispanics, and Trump-supporters show significantly lower demand for testing. The results indicate, if testing is not for free, health inequalities could rise.