Project in detail

Respondent Incentives, Interviewer Training and Respondent Behavior

Members of this project:

This project, funded by the German Research Association (DFG) under Priority Program 1292 on "Survey Methodology", focuses on the effects of monetary incentives offered to respondents for personal interviews (SHARE Germany, Wave 4). Experimental studies, above all in the United States, have shown that incentives bestowed in advance and without strings serve to raise survey participation rates. In our project, this practice was applied for the first time to a large-scale study in Germany. Randomly selected households were sent cash amounts of 40, 20 or 10 euros together with a cover letter. The addressees were informed that they could keep the sum as a gift regardless whether they took part in the survey or not. The effects of the respective incentives on recipient willingness to participate are the subject of our evaluation. A further item addresses the feasibility and outcome of an ultra-short questionnaire for respondents who decline to participate in the main sampling (PEDASKI procedure). The results showed that in this setting, prepaid incentives are effective in increasing response rates where higher incentives lead to higher response rates in an almost linear fashion. Moreover, the incentive groups did not prove to be biased compared to the control group. This project has been conducted in collaboration with Mathis Schröder, Ph.D., German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin).

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