Incentices in Survey Research

Article published: 24.06.2020

Traditional survey research faces declining response rates due to changing cultural habits and technological developments. This article focuses on the use of nonmaterial incentives in the form of a video that provides the invitees with information tailored to their life situation. Analysis of experimental data shows that instead of increasing respondents’ probability of starting the survey, the video treatments actually decrease it. The paper provides evidence that the lower salience of the intrinsic benefits of survey participation in the invitation email significantly contributes to this reduction. Additionally, the effect of the nonmaterial incentive differs across subgroups, affecting nonresponse biases in line with employment status, gender, and migration background.

Fabian Kalleitner, Monika Mühlböck, Bernhard Kittel (2020): What’s the Benefit of a Video? The Effect of Nonmaterial Incentives on Response Rate and Bias in Web Surveys. Social Science Computer Review Online first (full access here)