The Wave 6 NEPS Adult Study Incentive Experiment

Sara Kretschmer, Gerrit Müller


In wave 6 of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) adult starting cohort, an incentive experiment was conducted that randomly switched respondent cash incentives from promised to (partly) prepaid for half of the eligible sample. This research note examines the effects that this change in incentive scheme had on response rates, on sample composition in terms of some key survey variables, and fieldwork efforts by interviewers. We find moderately sized positive effects on overall response rates. The switch in incentive scheme appears to be particularly effective in raising response rates of low educated individuals and those with low reading and mathematics competencies, subgroups that participated underproportionately in prior waves. This differential reaction to the changed incentive scheme therefore leads to a somewhat more balanced sample composition along these dimensions. In line with prior studies, effects on fieldwork efforts such as the number of contact attempts to obtain an interview could be found, but are small in magnitude.


NEPS adult study, incentive experiment, nonresponse, bias, sample composition, fieldwork efficiency

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Copyright (c) 2017 Sara Kretschmer, Gerrit Müller

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