Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.15, No.2, 1999. pp. 217–230
The Effect of Incentives on Response Rates in Interviewer-Mediated Surveys
Eleanor Singer, John Van Hoewyk, Nancy Gebler, Trivellore Raghunathan, and Katherine McGonagle
Abstract:Incentives are known to increase response rates in mail surveys, and although they are
increasingl being used in face-to-face and telephone surveys, there is much less
information about their effects in those surveys, which differ radically in the demands
they place on respondents. In this article, we analyze all the studies we have been able
to locate that experimen with incentives in surveys done in person or by telephone in
order to answer four questions: Do incentives improve response rates and does the effect
vary by mode of interviewing? Are prepaid incentives more effective than promised
incentives? Is money more effective than a gift? What is the effect of interview burden on
the effectiveness of incentives?
Keywords:Response rate; survey; incentive; experiment.
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