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The Effects of a Targeted “Early Bird” Incentive Strategy on Response Rates, Fieldwork Effort, and Costs in a National Panel StudyAbstract Adaptive survey designs are increasingly used by survey practitioners to counteract ongoing declines in household survey response rates and manage rising fieldwork costs. This paper reports findings from an evaluation of an early-bird incentive (EBI) experiment targeting high-effort respondents who participate in the 2019 wave of the US Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We identified a subgroup of high-effort respondents at risk of nonresponse based on their prior wave fieldwork effort and randomized them to a treatment offering an extra time-delimited monetary incentive for completing their interview within the first month of data collection (treatment group; N = 800) or the standard study incentive (control group; N = 400). In recent waves, we have found that the costs of the protracted fieldwork needed to complete interviews with high-effort cases in the form of interviewer contact attempts plus an increased incentive near the close of data collection are extremely high. By incentivizing early participation and reducing the number of interviewer contact attempts and fieldwork days to complete the interview, our goal was to manage both nonresponse and survey costs. We found that the EBI treatment increased response rates and reduced fieldwork effort and costs compared to a control group. Wemore »
Switching from telephone to web‐first mixed‐mode data collection: Results from the Transition into Adulthood Supplement to the US Panel Study of Income DynamicsWe conducted an experiment to evaluate the effects on fieldwork outcomes and interview mode of switching to a web-first mixed-mode data collection design (self-administered web interview and interviewer-administered telephone interview) from a telephone-only design. We examine whether the mixed-mode option leads to better survey outcomes, based on response rates, fieldwork outcomes, interview quality and costs. We also examine respondent characteristics associated with completing a web interview rather than a telephone interview. Our mode experiment study was conducted in the 2019 wave of the Transition into Adulthood Supplement (TAS) to the US Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). TAS collects information biennially from approximately 3,000 young adults in PSID families. The shift to a mixed-mode design for TAS was aimed at reducing costs and increasing respondent cooperation. We found that for mixed-mode cases compared to telephone only cases, response rates were higher, interviews were completed faster and with lower effort, the quality of the interview data appeared better, and fieldwork costs were lower. A clear set of respondent characteristics reflecting demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, technology availability and use, time use, and psychological health were associated with completing a web interview rather than a telephone interview.
The Effects of an Incentive Boost on Response Rates, Fieldwork Effort, and Costs across Two Waves of a Panel StudyThis paper describes the association between an incentive boost and data collection outcomes across two waves of a long-running panel study. In a recent wave, with the aim of achieving response rate goals, all remaining sample members were offered a substantial incentive increase in the final weeks of data collection, despite uncertainty about potential effects on fieldwork outcomes in the following wave. The analyses examine response rates and the average number of interviewer attempts to complete the interview in the waves during and after the incentive boost, and provide an estimate of the cost of the incentives and fieldwork in the waves during and following the boost. The findings provide suggestive evidence that the use of variable incentive strategies from one wave to the next in the context of an ongoing panel study may be an effective strategy to reduce nonresponse and may yield enduring positive effects on subsequent data collection outcomes.