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.
Furthermore, conditional incentives and mutual monitoring could induce the participants to act like a team in order to claim the full incentive. It would be difficult for someone to turn down a friend's request to help the two of you to gain more money by taking a survey. However, there is a question of whether the additional incentive from an additional participant is large enough such that the effort of soliciting a friend would be worth it.
The unconditional incentives make it more likely for participants to pass on the survey and the conditional incentive will make it more likely for participants to 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.