What academics pay on MTurk

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Requester response on MturkGate (that is, Amazon’s decision to increase the overhead cost from 10% to 20%) has been pretty angry. However, I think Paolacci’s tweet kind of says it all. Are Requesters outraged because more money is going to Amazon without any associated benefit, or because their perception of ‘fast and cheap’ has changed?


For our upcoming book, we asked academic Requesters what they are paying.

Our research of academic Requesters showed a huge range in what Requesters paid for their HITs. HIT payments ranged from .02 per HIT to $2.50 per HIT. The estimated average hourly rate was an average of about $6.25, and ranged from $1.50 per hour to $15 per hour. Table 7.1 presents the average HIT reward and hourly compensation for three different disciplines, showing that rates vary slightly by discipline.

Table 7.1

Compensation by Discipline

Discipline (number of responses, average HIT reward, average hourly rate)
Computer Science 8 .74 6.25
Marketing 9 .67 5.67
Psychology 17 .85 5.96

The average minimum wage in the US is $7.25. Very few of the Requesters who responded to our survey pay that.

It seems to me if Amazon would set minimum hourly rates, a la Prolific Academic, they’d get more money at 10% overhead and Workers would be happier. We ran a hit yesterday that paid .15 a minute and got 120 responses in less than an hour. That’s a win for everyone, right?

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