The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 789–799

The cost-effectiveness of cash versus lottery incentives for a web-based, stated-preference community survey

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10198-011-0332-0

Cite this article as:
Gajic, A., Cameron, D. & Hurley, J. Eur J Health Econ (2012) 13: 789. doi:10.1007/s10198-011-0332-0


We present the results of a randomized experiment to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of response incentives for a stated-preference survey of a general community population. The survey was administered using a mixed-mode approach, in which community members were invited to participate using a traditional mailed letter using contact information for a representative sample of the community; but individuals completed the survey via the web, which exploited the advantages of electronic capture. Individuals were randomized to four incentive groups: (a) no incentive, (b) prepaid cash incentive ($2), (c) a low lottery (10 prizes of $25) and (d) a high lottery (2 prizes of $250). Letters of invitation were mailed to 3,000 individuals. In total, 405 individuals (14.4%) contacted the website and 277 (9.8%) provided complete responses. The prepaid cash incentive generated the highest contact and response rates (23.3 and 17.3%, respectively), and no incentive generated the lowest (9.1 and 5.7%, respectively). The high lottery, however, was the most cost-effective incentive for obtaining completed surveys: compared with no incentive, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per completed survey for high lottery was $13.89; for prepaid cash, the ICER was $18.29. This finding suggests that the preferred response incentive for community-based, stated-preference surveys is a lottery with a small number of large prizes.


Stated-preference survey Discrete-choice survey Response incentives 

JEL Codes

I10 C83 C90 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksandra Gajic
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Cameron
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeremiah Hurley
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Health Economics and Policy AnalysisMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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