Date of Award

Summer 2022

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Stephanie Brockmann

Second Advisor

Shadi Atallah

Third Advisor

Ju-Chin Huang


I examine vaccination behavior during a measles outbreak. By abandoning the rationalexpectations framework, I develop a model of vaccine behavior which recreates empirically observed vaccine hesitancy, as well as vaccination spikes during an outbreak. I use an agent-based model to simulate disease spread and agent behavior in a measles outbreak, in which rational agents minimize their expected costs by choosing their vaccination state. I allow some agents to instead use a heuristic, and others to have misinformation regarding vaccine risks, and finds that both reduce welfare. Including a social network has an ambiguous effect, as using more relevant local data allows agents to better estimate their risk from disease, but the same social network amplifies the impact of misinformation. I then examine a series of regulator interventions, and find that using a social media campaign to change agent’s perceptions of their peers’ views is the most cost-effective intervention. This presents regulators with a new framework with which to understand vaccine hesitancy, and an expanded menu of options to employ in the event of an outbreak.