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Use of Incentives in Survey Participation: AAPOR and ASA

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The Los Angeles Times recently covered the use of incentives to encourage and reward survey participation, specifically regarding a government sponsored economic survey that paid respondents $5 for their input. The article – which had a negative slant – prompted an immediate response from ASA President Jessica Utts and AAPOR President Roger Tourangeau who maintained that use of incentives, like instant gift cards, improves response rates on surveys. Their formal statement included this language: “Both AAPOR and ASA recognize the value of incentives as a tool for encouraging people to respond to surveys. There has been a lot of research on incentives over the years, and it is clear that a) they improve response rates; b) nothing works as well as cash for this purpose; and c) incentives often pay for themselves by reducing the number of attempts interviewers have to make to get people to respond…Nonresponse threatens to bias survey estimates, a cause for great concern both here and abroad because the survey estimates are so important.” Incentives have long been recognized as an effective way to boost survey participation all around the world. The thoughtful use of incentives and rewards can result in a more robust data set at the end of the day, providing a solid basis for making important business decisions – and behavior predictions!  The full Letter to the Editor can be found here: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-ol-le-government-surveys-five-dollars-20161026-snap-story.html. Want to learn more about incentive preferences and how incentives resonate with your recipients and survey participants? Check out our recent study  “The Impact of Incentives on Consumer Behavior”: http://virtualincentives.com/white-papers/.

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