Seminar On Survey Respondent Incentives: Research and Practice

Held on March 10, 2008


Incentives in Private Sector Surveys
by Barbara O'Hare, Arbitron, Inc.
Surveys conducted by private sector organizations and commercial establishments face response rate challenges similar to those conducted by government agencies or academic institutions. There is a well-established body of literature discussing theory and experimental findings on reasons people respond to surveys.

Use of Incentives in Surveys Supported by Federal Grants
by Sandra H. Berry, Jennifer S. Pevar, Megan Zander-Cotugno, RAND Corp.
In 2001 the U.S. federal government provided $42.87 million in funding for basic and applied research, of which approximately half was provided through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Almost all the remaining funds were awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. Within DHHS, 99% of research funding is awarded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Session Two: Use of Incentives - Who, What, Where, Why and How?
Papers and Discussion: Richard A. Kulka, Paul J. Lavrakas, Stanley Presser, David Cantor
Use of incentives has become a routine part of many survey research efforts, viewed by many as a necessity to obtain respondent cooperation and ensure proper sample representation. Yet, despite the growing body of published (and oftentimes unpublished) research on the topic, a number of fundamental questions remain unanswered.

Session Three: Integrating the Day and Personal Perspectives
Panelists: Geraldine Mooney, Robert Groves, Clyde Tucker, Jennifer Madans
The first panelist, Dr. Geraldine Mooney of Mathematica Policy Research, discussed her opinions of the ethical debates surrounding incentives. She first examined the question, “Why are the ethical concerns of incentive use being debated today?”