IGEM:Carnegie Mellon University/2009/Notebook/SUCCEED Survey and Peer Incentives/2014/02/13
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Unconditional vs Conditional Incentives
Uconditional: we give $5 upfront to participants in the survey
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.