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The Use and Effects of Incentives in Surveys

Publication Abstract

Singer, Eleanor, and C. Ye. 2013. "The Use and Effects of Incentives in Surveys." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 645(1): 112-141.

This article is intended to supplement rather than replace earlier reviews of research on survey incentives, especially those by Singer (2002); Singer and Kulka (2002); and Cantor, O'Hare, and O'Connor (2008). It is based on a systematic review of articles appearing since 2002 in major journals, supplemented by searches of the Proceedings of the American Statistical Association's Section on Survey Methodology for unpublished papers. The article begins by drawing on responses to open-ended questions about why people are willing to participate in a hypothetical survey. It then lays out the theoretical justification for using monetary incentives and the conditions under which they are hypothesized to be particularly effective. Finally, it summarizes research on how incentives affect response rates in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies and, to the extent information is available, how they affect response quality, nonresponse error, and cost-effectiveness. A special section on incentives in Web surveys is included.

DOI:10.1177/0002716212458082 (Full Text)

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