Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Bureau of Labor Statistics > Office of Survey Methods and Research > Publications > Browse Research Papers

Effects of Incentives in the U.S. Consumer Expenditures Quarterly Survey

David E. McGrath

Abstract

Response rates to the Consumer Expenditures Quarterly Survey have fallen from about 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent by 2004. To combat the falling rates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics introduced an incentives experiment beginning in November, 2005. The goal was to increase response rates by offering respondents an unconditional, pre-paid monetary incentive. To achieve this goal, we mailed debit-card incentives along with the survey's advance letter, prior to contacting the potential survey respondent. The experimental design contrasts a control group receiving $0 with groups that receive either $20 or $40 debit cards. In this paper, we show the design of the incentive experiment, discuss some field issues that arose during implementation, and provide preliminary results that focus on the effects of the incentives on response rates.