Monetary incentives for survey respondents
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Monetary Incentives for Survey Respondents:. Assessing Implementation, Operation, and Performance Measures for Two Census Bureau Demographic Surveys International Field Directors & Technologies Conference Nashville, Tennessee (May 20, 2003). Discussion Topics.

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Monetary incentives for survey respondents

Monetary Incentives for Survey Respondents:

Assessing Implementation, Operation, and Performance Measures for Two Census Bureau Demographic Surveys

International Field Directors & Technologies Conference

Nashville, Tennessee (May 20, 2003)

Discussion topics

Discussion Topics

Survey of Income and Program Participation


Incentive Results for Past and Current Panels

Survey Program Dynamics (SPD)

Incentive Results Past and Current SPD

Lessons Learned on Demographic Surveys

Survey of income and program participation sipp

Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)

  • Provide information to assist in the reform and

    evaluation of:

    • Welfare programs

    • Taxes

    • Entitlement programs

  • Survey estimates:

    • Cross-sectional

    • longitudinal

1996 sipp incentive usage

1996 SIPP Incentive Usage

2001 sipp incentive experiment guidelines

2001 SIPP Incentive Experiment Guidelines

Treatment 1: $40 debit card issued at RO/(S)FR discretion, conditioned on obtaining a completed interview, Waves 1-9 (n=2200, per wave).

Treatment 2: Non-discretionary, unconditional $40 debit card sent via mail to previous wave non-respondents, Waves 4-9

Control No incentive eligibility (W1-9).

Sipp 2001 incentive program sample

SIPP 2001 Incentive Program Sample

Chart 1 2001 sipp panel conditional incentive household versus control group response rates

Chart 1. 2001 SIPP Panel Conditional Incentive Household versus Control Group Response Rates

Conditional incentive household response rate significantly Higher than control in Waves 1 – 5.

Chart 2 2001 sipp panel unconditional incentive household conversion rates by wave

Chart 2. 2001 SIPP Panel Unconditional Incentive Household Conversion Rates by Wave

Treatment 2 Conversion rates significantly higher than control group for Wave 5.

Survey of program dynamics spd

Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD)

  • Follow-up to the SIPP mandated by Congress to assess welfare reform

  • Inherited SIPP sample loss of 26% from 1992/93 SIPP Panels known as the Basic (Core)

  • The Full SPD consists of: Basic, 1997 NI, and 1992-93 SIPP NI samples

Spd incentive usage 1997 through 2001

SPD - Incentive Usage – 1997 Through 2001

Table 1 spd sample loss history

Table 1. SPD Sample Loss History

2002 spd panel incentive use

2002 SPD Panel Incentive Use

  • Eligibility factors for Unconditional $40:

    • Type A noninterviews from 1998- 2001

    • Households that received an incentive in any SPD between 1999-2001

    • New potential Type A’s in 2002

Table 2 2002 spd response rates

Table 2. 2002 SPD Response Rates

Chart 3 spd 1992 93 and 1997 ni sample results

Chart 3. SPD 1992/93 and 1997 NI Sample Results

Chart 4 spd basic and full sample results

Chart 4. SPD Basic and Full Sample Results

What the census bureau has learned about incentives on two demographic surveys

What the Census Bureau has learned about Incentives on Two Demographic Surveys?

How census regional office staff feel about the incentive program

How Census Regional Office Staff Feel About the Incentive Program

In August 2002, all RO’s participated in focus group discussions on implementation, operation, and incentive performance.

  • 93% feel incentive experiment procedures are easy to


  • 50% feel (S)FR’s and FR’s have to make fewer contacts,

    phone or in person, to complete interviews with debit cards.

  • 58% reported they changed their debit card distribution

    plan since the 2001 incentive experiment started.

  • 93% feel incentives are effective for converting refusal.

  • 57% feel debit card use has improved FR performance.

How respondent feel about incentives

How Respondent Feel About Incentives

Major respondent responses to [email protected].c, “How do you feel about receiving an incentive?”

  • Great idea, like it, happy, appreciate it, fine, all right

  • Accept due to need

  • Would not complete without the incentive/Expects card for

    next interview

  • Compensation for their time

  • Not enough money

  • Indifferent- would have completed without incentive

  • Other: broken card, promised incentive but never received,

    and/or considered it a bribe.

Chart 5 sipp respondent positive and negative responses about receipt of 40 incentive

Chart 5. SIPP Respondent Positive and Negative Responses about Receipt of $40 Incentive

Majority of all respondents provided a positive reaction to $40 incentive



SIPP andSPD monetary respondent incentive use resulted in improved response and conversion rates on longitudinal demographic surveys.

Implementation and operation of the incentive program involved an on-going monitoring and improvement of the control and tracking of incentive use.

Regional Office and FLD staff feed back has played an important role in determining the most effective amount and method of incentive dissemination.

Respondents view incentives as an effective compensation for their time

Please direct any comments or questions to

Please direct any comments or questions to:

Steven W. Perry

U.S. Census Bureau

FOB #3, Room 3379

Washington, DC 20233

Phone: 301-763-5259

Email: [email protected]

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