The Effect of Discount Coupons and Gifts on Mail Survey Response Rates Among High Involvement Respondents

Introduction

Given the extensive use of mail surveys and the fact that a considerable number of such surveys attract a low response rate it is not surprising that the topic has attracted interest by both academics and practitioners. A number of papers have attempted to synthesise the body of research dealing with response rate in mail surveys and the overriding consensus of such reviews is that repeated contact, inclusion of return envelope, postage and inclusion of incentives are instrumental in increasing response rate (Conant et al. 1990; Fox et al. 1988; Harvey 1987; Yammarino et al. 1991). Of these considerations inclusion of incentives (either monetary of non-monetary) has attracted a great deal of experimental work. Although there is little doubt that, overall, monetary incentives increase response rate (James & Bolstein 1990 & 1992; Brennan et al. 1991; Brennan, 1992) there is still some uncertainty regarding a number of associated issues, e.g. enclosed vs promised, form of incentive, size of reward, volunteer bias etc. For a comprehensive review of these issues the reader is directed to Nederhof (1983) and Gajraj et al. (1990).

Research rationale and hypotheses