The use of monetary incentives in federal surveys on substance use and abuse
Incentive payments to survey respondents have been used extensively for many years to improve survey response rates. There is considerable research evidence supporting the value of compensation for increasing cooperation and improving the speed and quality of response in a broad range of data collection efforts. This paper examines current issues in the use of monetary incentives in sample surveys, including a review of the literature concerning the direct and indirect impact of incentives on survey statistics, and the practical and operational issues for their use. This paper also examines the two recent experiments conducted to assess the effectiveness of incentives in studies of substance use - the Alcohol and Drug Services Study and the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. These studies are reviewed in light of the current issues identified in the literature. They are described in detail in the companion papers included in this issue of the Journal of Social and Economic Measurement.