Primary Outcomes (end points)
Responses/Behavior in Game Designed to Elicit Individual-Level Measure of (Dis)Honesty: To measure individual-level dishonesty directly, the survey includes a game with a material incentive to behave dishonestly. Every respondent is provided with a screen introducing the opportunity to earn a bonus. At the top of the screen, the respondent is told: "You have now answered approximately half of the questions in this survey. You now have the opportunity to earn a bonus [reward]" (emphasis in the original). Below this statement, participants are shown an image of two tumbling dice, underneath which they are told: "After you click 'Next', you will be shown an image of six dice. If two of the dice show the same number of eyes, you will receive a bonus as follows: If 1 is the highest number that appears twice, you will get the basic Bonus of € 0.50; If 2 is the highest number that shows twice, you get double the basic bonus: € 1.00; if 3 is the highest number that shows twice, you will get triple the basic bonus: €1.50; etc."
On the next page, respondents are shown an image consisting of the surfaces of six dice. 95% of respondents are shown an image containing two dice showing the number 1 (no other number twice; see Analysis Plan for details). Underneath the image, all participants are asked: "Each of the six dice shows a number of eyes. You get a bonus if a number appears exactly twice. Does a number appear twice on your screen?" [In German: "Jeder der sechs Würfel zeigt eine Zahl von Augen an. Sie erhalten einen Bonus, wenn eine Zahl genau zweimal vorkommt. Kommt bei Ihnen eine Zahl zweimal vor?"] This statement and question is supposed to heighten the ambiguity about whether we have any knowledge of the number shown twice, allowing for the possibility that respondents can behave dishonestly (see below) without detection. The question is followed by a simple Yes – No choice.
If the participant clicks "Yes", s/he gets the immediate (on-page) feedback: "Congratulations! Please remember the number that appears twice." If the respondent selects No, the statement "What bad luck! We are sorry that you did not roll a bonus." appears. Participants who click "No" skip the next page.
On the next page, participants are asked: "Which number appeared twice on the dice? To claim your bonus, select that number from the drop-down menu:" The dropdown menu shown for this question contains the options 1 through 6. As participants select a number from the menu, a statement appears underneath: "The bonus to which you are entitled is € 0.50. This bonus will be credited to you by Mingle/Meinungsplatz after completion of the project (in approx. 10-14 days)" if they select "1"; "The bonus to which you are entitled is €1.00 if they select "2"; etc., such that the specific amount filled in, depending on the number selected, so as to remind participants of the monetary reward available to them for being dishonest. While €3 might be only a modest material incentive, it is twice the "incentive pay" awarded to respondents by the survey company for participating in the survey, suggesting that participants who might deviate from the social norm of honest behavior in response to material rewards should thus be incentivized to behave dishonestly.