In survey research, a consensus has grown regarding the effectiveness of incentives encouraging survey participation across different survey modes and target populations. Most of this research has been based on surveys from the United States, whereas few studies have provided evidence that these results can be generalized to other contexts. This paper is the first to present comprehensive information concerning the effects of incentives on response rates and nonresponse bias across large-scale surveys in Germany. The context could be viewed as a critical test for incentive effects because Germany’s population is among the most survey-critical in the world, with very low response rates. Our results suggest positive incentive effects on response rates and patterns of effects that are similar to those in previous research: The effect increased with the monetary value of the incentive; cash incentives affected response propensity more strongly than lottery tickets do; and prepaid incentives could be more cost effective than conditional incentives. We found mixed results for the effects of incentives on nonresponse bias. Regarding large-scale panel surveys, we could not unequivocally confirm that incentives increased response rates in later panel waves.
This is a pre‐copyedited, author‐produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in "Public Opinion Quarterly" following peer review. The version of record Are Incentive Effects on Response Rates and Nonresponse Bias in Large‐Scale, Face‐to‐Face Surveys Generalizable in Germany? Evidence from Ten Experiments / Klaus Pforr, Michael Blohm, Annelies G. Blom, Barbara Erdel, Barbara Felderer, Mathis Fräßdorf, Kristin Hajek, Susanne Helmschrott, Corinna Kleinert, Achim Koch, Ulrich Krieger, Martin Kroh, Silke Martin, Denise Saßenroth, Claudia Schmiedeberg, Eva‐Maria. In: Public Opinion Quarterly 79 (2015), 3, pp. 740‐768 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfv014