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Incentivizing Data Donations: Can Monetary Compensation Increase Data Contributions?
Last registered on July 13, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Incentivizing Data Donations: Can Monetary Compensation Increase Data Contributions?
Initial registration date
July 13, 2020
Last updated
July 13, 2020 2:36 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
University of Passau
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Passau
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Today, individuals commonly disclose personal data to enjoy the benefits of data-driven services, such as personalized user interfaces and targeted content recommendations. Next to these personal benefits, data from individuals can also create great societal returns in the public interest. In this spirit, several countries have introduced mobile tracking apps in response to the COVID 19-pandemic, to facilitate contact tracing based on the continuous collection of users’ contact data with others. However, such tracking apps can only represent effective building blocks for a nation’s public health strategy if individuals are willing to voluntarily donate their data by installing and using these apps. Despite the potential societal benefits, empirical research on data donations is still scarce. In particular, it is unknown which mechanism can be effective in encouraging individuals to donate their data in the public interest and whether monetary payments can increase the willingness to contribute data. Previous studies on other types of donations, such as blood donations, show that monetary compensation can crowd out intrinsic motivation and altruistic motives, and thus, reduce the number of blood donors. However, in the context of data, monetary compensation could provide a short-term stimulus that may foster long-term data donations. To address this empirical research question, we run an experimental study and compare the effect of different incentives on participants’ willingness to donate data. Altogether, our findings provide timely evidence on how to encourage data donations in the interest of public health.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Fast, Victoria and Daniel Schnurr. 2020. "Incentivizing Data Donations: Can Monetary Compensation Increase Data Contributions?." AEA RCT Registry. July 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6148-1.0.
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Experimental Details
We conduct an online experiment and elicit subjects’ (revealed) willingness to install and use the Corona-Warn-App that is provided by the German federal government. We vary the type of incentive offered to the subjects for the installation and usage of the app.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Subjects’ decision to install the Corona-Warn-App on their own smartphone (verified by experimenter).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Subjects’ revealed use of the Corona-Warn-App (verified 14 days after installation).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Experiments are run online. Treatments are randomized at the session level. Participants will be recruited from the student subject pool of the University of Passau. Each subject participates in only one treatment (between-subject design). In all treatments, subjects are fully informed about the timeline of the experiment and the consequences of their actions.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer in office
Randomization Unit
Experimental sessions
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Observations on the subject level are assumed to be independent, because subjects decide only once on app installation and decide without interacting with other participants in the experimental session. Thus, the number of clusters equals the number of observations.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We schedule data collection aiming at 90 observations per treatment. Thus, we aim for a total of 360 individual participants across the four treatments.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
90 (student) participants per treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
German Association for Experimental Economic Research e.V.
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number