Applying prospect theory to participation in a CAPI/web panel survey

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Public Opinion Quarterly


Peter Lynn

Publication date


Prospect theory states that the influential power of avoiding negative outcomes is stronger than that of achieving positive outcomes. In a survey context, this theory has been tested with respect to not only participation in a CATI survey, but also giving consent to data linkage in CATI surveys. No study, however, has tested the theory with respect to participation in a CAPI or web survey. This study does so in a mixed-mode panel context; it also tests the moderating effects of time-in-panel, response history, and mode protocol. Results show that the framing of the survey participation request influences participation propensity in a way consistent with prospect theory, but only for relatively recent panel entrants. The opposite effect is found for long-term panel participants. No difference is found between mode protocols.





Psychology and Survey Methodology


Online Early; Open Access; © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.; This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.