The Influence of an Up-Front Experiment on Respondents’ Recording Behaviour in Payment Diaries: Evidence from Germany

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Abstract

In this article, we analyse the effect of an incentive experiment on German consumers’ recording behaviour on the basis of a one-week diary of their point-of-sale expenditure. Part of the experiment, which was carried out shortly before the consumers began filling in their payment diaries, involved consumers rolling a die with a chance of winning either EUR 20 or nothing, that is, they were randomly assigned an incentive. We ask whether respondents’ recording behaviour differs depending on whether individuals win or lose. We argue that winners attach a more positive feeling to the survey than losers and therefore show a stronger commitment to the diary. As the incentive experiment is part of a larger experiment to elicit respondents’ risk preferences, we also provide evidence on the effect of conducting up-front behavioural experiments in representative surveys. Our results indicate that the outcome of the lottery (rolling of the die) has an impact on the quantity of transactions recorded, but does not affect other aspects of respondents’ recording behaviour, such as item nonresponse or rounding. It also has a negligible impact on substantive measures, such as the cash share.

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