Lottery-based versus fixed incentives to increase clinicians' response to surveys

Scott D. Halpern, Rachel Kohn, Aaron Dornbrand-Lo, Thomas Metkus, David A. Asch, Kevin G. Volpp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objective. To compare the effects of lottery-based and fixed incentives on clinicians' response to surveys. Data Sources. Three randomized trials with fixed payments and actuarially equivalent lotteries. Study Design. Trial 1 compared a low-probability/high-payout lottery, a high-probability/low-payout lottery, and no incentive. Trial 2 compared a moderate-probability/moderate- payout lottery with an unconditional fixed payment (payment sent with questionnaire). Trial 3 compared a moderate-probability/moderate-payout lottery with a conditional fixed payment (payment promised following response). Principal Findings. Neither the low-probability nor high-probability lotteries improved response compared with no incentive. Unconditional fixed payments produced significantly greater response than actuarially equivalent lotteries, but conditional fixed payments did not. Conclusions. Lottery-based incentives do not improve clinicians' response rates compared with no incentives, and they are inferior to unconditional fixed payments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1663-1674
Number of pages12
JournalHealth services research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Incentives
  • behavioral economics
  • lottery
  • response rate
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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