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Effects of a Prepaid Nonmonetary Incentive on Response Rates and Response Quality in a Face-to-Face Survey

Diane K. Willimack, Howard Schuman, Beth-Ellen Pennell and James M. Lepkowski
The Public Opinion Quarterly
Vol. 59, No. 1 (Spring, 1995), pp. 78-92
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2749651
Page Count: 15
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Effects of a Prepaid Nonmonetary Incentive on Response Rates and Response Quality in a Face-to-Face Survey
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Abstract

We conducted a randomized experiment on a face-to-face interview survey in order to test the effects on response rates of a prepaid nonmonetary incentive. Results showed a statistically significant increase in response rates, mostly through reduction in refusal rates, in the half sample that received the incentive (a gift-type ballpoint pen) as compared with a no incentive control group. The effect appears to be due to greater cooperation from incentive control group. The effect appears to be due to greater cooperation from incentive recipients at the initial visit by an interviewer. Unexpectedly, the incentive group also showed a significantly higher rate of sample ineligibility, possibly due to easier identification of vacant residences of nonexistent addresses. In addition, evidence suggests greater response completeness among responding incentive recipients early in the interview, with no evidence of increased measurement error due to the incentive.

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