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We're only in it for the money: are incentives enough to compensate poor motivation?

Brunel Valentin; Palat Blazej

There are moments in online panel operation when technical, financial, or
organisational constraints impose a change in panel functioning rules, resulting in increased
risk of attrition. On the occasion of panel functioning change in ELIPSS, a French non-
commercial online panel, we explored information predictive of panel survival when
membership became less attractive to panellists. Available information was collected at
different stages of individual participation: recruitment, profiling, and survey response
behavior (paradata). We also devised an experiment aimed at testing differences in
effectiveness between three types of incentives on panel survival: repetitive financial
incentives (two incentives separated by a four-month period), single financial incentive, and
single financial incentive coupled with a gift. A hierarchical logistic regression model made it
possible to distinguish indices derived from survey response behavior and from questions
pertaining to panellists’ initial motivation to join the panel as significant predictors of panel
survival. Our findings can be useful for panel monitoring in the context of important changes
in its functioning. They outline that long-lasting attitudes towards panel participation have
much more impact on panel survival than the amount of incentives received.

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