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Does the Effect of Incentive Payments on Survey Response Rates Differ by Income Support History?


  • Barón, Juan D.

    () (World Bank)

  • Breunig, Robert

    () (Australian National University)

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.

    () (University of Sydney)

  • Gorgens, Tue

    () (Australian National University)

  • Sartbayeva, Anastasia

    () (Australian National University)


This paper asks which sub-groups of the population are affected by the payment of a small cash incentive to respond to a telephone survey. We find that an incentive improves response rates primarily amongst those individuals with the longest history of income support receipt. Importantly, these individuals are least likely to respond to the survey in the absence of an incentive. The incentive thus improves both average response rates and acts to equalize response rates across different socio-economic groups, potentially reducing non-response bias. Interestingly, the main channel through which the incentive appears to increase response rates is in improving the probability of making contact with individuals in the group with heavy exposure to the income support system.

Suggested Citation

  • Barón, Juan D. & Breunig, Robert & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Gorgens, Tue & Sartbayeva, Anastasia, 2008. "Does the Effect of Incentive Payments on Survey Response Rates Differ by Income Support History?," IZA Discussion Papers 3473, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3473

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scott Dawson & Dave Dickinson, 1988. "Conducting International Mail Surveys: The Effect of Incentives on Response Rates with an Industry Population," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 19(3), pages 491-496, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barón, Juan D. & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Erkal, Nisvan, 2008. "Cultural Transmission of Work-Welfare Attitudes and the Intergenerational Correlation in Welfare Receipt," IZA Discussion Papers 3904, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    survey response; incentive payments; income support;

    JEL classification:

    • C89 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Other
    • I39 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Other

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