Evidence of a Rubella Prevention Policy’s Effect from Regression Discontinuity Design: Automatic Receiving of Coupons for Free Antibody Testing and Vaccination

Author Name KATO Hiroki (Osaka University) / SASAKI Shusaku (Tohoku Gakuin University) / OHTAKE Fumio (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. March 2022 22-J-011
Research Project Implementing Evidence-Based Policy Making in Japan
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Since the prevalence of rubella antibodies is low among Japanese men aged 40 to 57, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) has issued coupons for free rubella antibody testing and vaccination since FY2019. In 2019, men aged 40 to 46 automatically received the coupon from local governments, while men aged 47 and over had to apply for the coupon. Based on this, we estimate the effect of automatically receiving the coupon for free antibody testing and vaccination, using the regression discontinuity design and the data of the nationwide online survey. As a result, automatically receiving the coupon increased the rate of antibody testing by about 16 percentage points and increased the vaccination rate by about 5.1 percentage points. Moreover, while automatically receiving the coupon raises awareness of the rubella prevention policies of MHLW, it does not affect knowledge of the health risks related to rubella. This suggests that automatically receiving the coupon not only reduces the transaction cost but also provides information that antibody testing and vaccination could be received free of charge.