Does reputation enhance response rates?

V. Kerry Smith, Sharon L. Harlan, Michael McLaen, Jacob Fishman, Carlos Valcarcel, Marcia Nation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Declining response rates and the potential for deterioration in the quality of survey data require reconsideration of the role of incentives to participate in interviews. This article argues that the strategies associated with linking public goods to private goods to establish reputation effects for the private goods involved can also be used to enhance confidence in the objectives of the request for an interview. In this literature, an assured reputation is established for those selling products by offering to contribute some of the proceeds of a sale to charity. The results of our field experiment indicate that combining charity with financial incentives appears to increase confidence in survey objectives for those familiar with the interview process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1228-1231
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Economics Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Oct 7 2017


  • Charity
  • reputation
  • response rates
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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