Behavioral Intervention to Increase Honest Responses Using Pledges

Last registered on April 29, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Behavioral Intervention to Increase Honest Responses Using Pledges
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006097
Initial registration date
November 24, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 24, 2020, 4:32 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 29, 2021, 10:25 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
B4Development Foundation

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2020-11-20
End date
2021-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study aims to investigate if honesty pledges are able to improve honest reporting among applicants to a volunteer program. Participants will be randomly allocated into intervention versus control conditions, where the former will receive the honesty pledge at the beginning of their form, and the latter will not. The honesty pledge will be a single statement asking applicants to click a box if they pledge to respond honestly in their application. Researchers will evaluate if there is an observable difference between the answers of the control and treatment groups, which will indicate that the honesty pledge led to a reduction in dishonest behavior.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Makki, Fadi. 2021. "Behavioral Intervention to Increase Honest Responses Using Pledges." AEA RCT Registry. April 29. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6097
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
This randomized controlled trial investigates if commitment pledges improve honest reporting among applicants to a volunteer program in Qatar. The pledge will be a single statement asking applicants to click a box if they pledge to respond honestly in their application, and will hover frozen at the top of the application form as they progress. Any differences observed in the responses between the treatment and control groups will be attributed to the honesty pledge.
Intervention Start Date
2020-11-21
Intervention End Date
2021-04-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will evaluate if there is an observable difference between the two groups on four main variables:
(1) 'Importance of health' questionnaire item: "How much does your health matter to you?" The outcome is an ordinal variable measured on a 0-4 Likert scale where 0: Not at all, 1: A little, 2: Somewhat, 3: Quite a bit and 4: Very much.
(2) Language proficiency, Arabic: 'Please indicate your proficiency in the Arabic language.' This question is measured on a 0-4 Likert Scale where 0: None, 1: Basic, 2: Intermediate, 3: Native and 4: Professional.
(3) Language proficiency, English: 'Please indicate your proficiency in the English language.' This question is measured on a 0-4 Likert Scale where 0: None, 1: Basic, 2: Intermediate, 3: Native and 4: Professional.
(4) Volunteer preferences, Comfort with disability: 'Are you comfortable working with people with disabilities?' - This variable will measure if subjects are comfortable working with people with disabilities. This will be measured on a binary scale (yes/no).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We also examine differences in responses on the 'Physical activity' questionnaire item: 'Do you make sure that you walk or do other moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day?' This is measured on a binary scale (yes/no).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This experiment will be a large scale randomized controlled trial that will evaluate if the presence of an honesty pledge on an application form impacts responses. Subjects will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. Subjects in the treatment condition will receive the honesty pledge on their application. Subjects in the control group will not receive the pledge. Afterwards, both groups will answer the same questions on an application form.
Experimental Design Details
This experiment will be a large scale randomized controlled trial that will evaluate if the presence of an honesty pledge on an application form impacts responses. The intervention is intended to link subsequent responses on the form to the applicant’s positive self-conception as honest and therefore decrease dishonest behavior. Participants will be randomly assigned to control and treatment groups following stratification on variables of gender and the Corruption Perceptions Index rankings of country of residence clustered into four categories. Thereafter, subjects in both groups will be asked to complete the same questions on the application form, the difference is that those in the treatment group will receive an honesty pledge before answering questions. After implementation, the study will evaluate if there is an observable difference between the answers of the two groups on the outcome measures using regression analysis that will control for participants’ demographics. We expect that the treated group would be significantly less likely to score in higher categories which one would expect if the treated group provided more honest responses compared to the control group given that respondents tend to over-report socially desirable behavior.
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
A stratified randomization strategy will be employed. Participants in the database will be randomly allocated into control and treatment groups following stratification on variables of gender and the Corruption Perceptions Index rankings of country of residence. Corruption index is clustered in four different categories: high corruption (0-29), moderately high corruption (30-49), medium corruption (50-69) and low corruption (70-89).
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
8 clusters of applicants (female and male; four categories of the Corruption Perception Index rankings)
Sample size: planned number of observations
The potential sample consists of 230,000 candidates who had previously registered their interest for volunteering via an online form. Only those who are 18+ years old and who indicate being a resident in one of the countries ranked on Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) are eligible for the study. The recruitment plan is opportunistic, i.e. without a pre-planned sample size, and researchers will involve as many people as possible from the SC’s current database. Researchers expect approximately 50% to submit an application, or 100,000 applicants (after excluding those deemed ineligible).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The recruitment plan is opportunistic, i.e. without a pre-planned sample size, and researchers will involve as many people as possible from the SC’s current database.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IntegReview
IRB Approval Date
2020-11-24
IRB Approval Number
2020 (Makki)-B4Development
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials