Unconditional vs Conditional Incentives
Uconditional: we give $5 upfront to participants in the survey
- (+) Encourages people to give survey to friends because it is money for their friends>
- (+) Participants get immediate payout; reciprocity effects, especially in the form of a gift
- Reciprocity from gifts: Kube, Maréchal and Puppe, 2011
- (-) On the other hand, may not be enough to incentivize people to give survey to others, since they already have their $5, different from conditional scheme where they give money for more people they recruit; in other words, do peoples' concern for others cancel out their laziness?
- (+) Incentive to give survey to others might be strengthened if we signal that survey can be given as gift
- Gift giving: Falk, 2007
- (-) People may be wholly uninterested in doing survey and just take the money
- (?) People may feel guilt if they take money without doing survey but is it enough to get them to do the survey?
Conditional: we give $1, $3, or $5 conditional on how many people participate in the survey
- (+) Cost-effective; we only give money to people who have done the survey
- (+) Incentivizes people to pass on survey since they get more money as more participants are involved, and also their friends also get money
- (-) Conditional incentive is not as much as a "gift", people might not want to burden friends
- (-) Also people may not spread survey if they don't know whether other participants will finish survey and pass it on; involving more people can be problematic and it may not be worth the effort
- (+) Introducing some way to monitor other participants may resolve this
- Peer pressure and monitoring: Mass, Moretti, 2006
- (-) Initial payout to first person is less and is conditional on the person finishing the survey; may make some people less likely to take survey
- (+) Interdependence of tasks to get full amount of incentive, encourages participants to work as team
- Task and reward interdependence: Baker, Wageman, 1999
- Team incentives: Babock et al, 2011
The objective of any incentive structure we design is to obtain data from all members of a three participant group who will fill out the SUCCEED survey. The problem, however, is that we can't directly offer incentives to all three of the participants at once; we rely on the first one to deliver the survey to the second one and the second one to deliver the survey to the third one. Therefore, we must find the best way to get people to take the survey and have first and second person to pass on the survey.
In the conditional incentive scheme, we assume that people pass on the survey because they want more money for themselves and others. In the unconditional scheme, people pass on the survey because it is a free gift for another person. Therefore, the more conditional incentive scheme puts participants more into the mind of a salesperson while the unconditional incentive puts them more into the mind of a gift-giver.
In my opinion, the unconditional incentives make it more likely for participants to pass on the survey but it does not guarantee that they will actually complete the survey. These two incentives may not be entirely mutually exclusive; for instance, we can still give unconditional incentives to facilitate the spread of the survey, but also offer a final incentive once everyone in the group has finished the survey.