AuthorScharf, Harris Michael
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractScientists have found that face masks are an effective way of preventing the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Throughout the past two years public health officials in the United States have proposed several policies recommending Americans wear face masks when in public. However, these policies have faced severe opposition, with many people claiming that the federal government has overstepped its authority. This paper aims to determine whether federal masking policies are necessary to persuade the American public to wear masks when interacting with others. Three hypothetical scenarios will be analyzed utilizing the game theory concepts of expected utility and Bayesian Nash Equilibrium to determine if individuals will make the decision to wear a mask without government intervention. The paper will show that regardless of one’s choice mechanism, individuals will only wear masks when the cost associated with wearing a mask is outweighed by the benefit associated with wearing a mask. Thus, in order to ensure that the majority of people will wear a mask in public and slow the spread of COVID-19, the United States government must enact public health policies aimed at manipulating the costs and benefits of wearing masks.
Degree ProgramPhilosophy, Politics, Economics & Law