Publication Date

February 2011


Andy Peytchev, Jeffrey Rosen, Joe Murphy, Mark R. Lindblad, Sarah F. Riley


Ford Foundation

Findings suggest that per-complete-interviewer incentives may not be cost effective in reducing survey non-response.

Surveys routinely offer incentives to motivate respondents and increase the likelihood of their participation, yet surprisingly little is known about the effectiveness of interviewer incentives. If interviewer incentives increase interviewers’ success in gaining cooperation, they could help address declining survey response rates.

In this article, we present the results of an experiment testing the effectiveness of interviewer incentives in the form of cash bonuses for each successfully completed field interview. We did not find evidence that higher payments to interviewers for each completion led to increased effort on the part of interviewers nor did they lead to higher levels of success in securing respondent cooperation.

These findings suggest that per complete interviewer incentives may not be cost effective in reducing survey nonresponse.