Departmental Papers (CIS)

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


Aaron Roth and Grant Schoenebeck. 2012. Conducting truthful surveys, cheaply. In Proceedings of the 13th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (EC '12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 826-843. DOI=10.1145/2229012.2229076

© ACM, 2012. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Proceedings of the 13th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, {(2012)}" Email


We consider the problem of conducting a survey with the goal of obtaining an unbiased estimator of some population statistic when individuals have unknown costs (drawn from a known prior) for participating in the survey. Individuals must be compensated for their participation and are strategic agents, and so the payment scheme must incentivize truthful behavior. We derive optimal truthful mechanisms for this problem for the two goals of minimizing the variance of the estimator given a fixed budget, and minimizing the expected cost of the survey given a fixed variance goal.



Date Posted: 30 July 2012