Discussion paper

DP15996 COVID-19 Vaccine’s Gender Paradox

Women die less than men of COVID-19, but have been more concerned about its health consequences and more compliant with the public health rules imposed during the pandemic. Since return to normal life depends on vaccination, but delays in acceptance or outright refusals of vaccination are already apparent, we investigate gender differences in attitudes and expected behaviors regarding COVID-19 vaccination. Using original data from a survey conducted in December 2020 in ten developed countries (N=13,326), we discover a COVID-19 Vaccine’s gender paradox. Being more concerned about COVID-19 and more likely to believe to be infected and consequently to become seriously ill, women could be expected to be more supportive of vaccination than men. Instead, our findings show that women agree less than men to be vaccinated and to make vaccination compulsory. Our evidence suggests that their vaccine hesitance is partly due skepticism, since women are less likely to believe that vaccination is the only solution to COVID-19 and more likely to believe that COVID-19 was created by large corporations. Using a survey experiment performed in these ten countries, we show that information provision on the role of vaccination to become immune to COVID-19 is effective in reducing vaccine hesitance.


Galasso, V, P Profeta, M Foucault and V Pons (2021), ‘DP15996 COVID-19 Vaccine’s Gender Paradox‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 15996. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15996