This is a broadcast search request (hopefully of interest to many readers of the blog), not the presentation of research results.
When conducting research on Amazon Mechnical Turk (MTurk) you always face the question how much to pay workers. You want to be fair, to incentivize diligent work, to expedite recruiting, to sample a somehow representative cross-section of Turkers etc. For the US, I generally aim at $7.50 per hour, slightly more than the minimum wage in the US (although that is non-binding) and presumably slightly higher than the average wage on MTurk. Now I aim for a cross-cultural study comparing survey responses and experiment behavior of Turkers registered as residing in India with US workers. How much to pay in the US, how much in India? For the US it is easy: $7.50 * (expected duration of the HIT in minutes / 60). And India?
The two obvious alternatives are
- Pay the same for Indian workers as US workers: $7.50 per hour. MTurk is a global market place in which workers from many nations compete. It’s only fair to pay the same rate for the same work.
- Adjust the wage to national price level: ~ $2.50 per hour. A dollar is worth more in the US than in India. Paying the same rate leads to higher incentives for Indian workers and might bias sampling, effort, and results. According to The World Bank, the purchasing power parity conversion factor to market exchange ratio for India compared to the US is 0.3 (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/PA.NUS.PPPC.RF). $7.50 in the US would make $2.25 in India. Based on The Economist’s BigMac index one could argue for $2.49 in India (raw index) to $4.5 (adjusted index; http://www.economist.com/content/big-mac-index). According to (Ashenfelter 2012, http://www.nber.org/papers/w18006) wages in McDonald’s restaurants in India are 6% of the wage at a McDonald’s restaurant in the US, which could translate to paying $0.45 per hour on MTurk. Given the wide range of estimates, $2.50 might be a reasonable value.
What should be the criteria to decide and which of these two is better?
I appreciate any comments and suggestions and hope that these will be valuable to me and to other readers of Follow the Crowd.