Honesty in Sudan - A randomized control trial comparing religious and non-religious messaging in promoting honesty

Last registered on January 30, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Honesty in Sudan - A randomized control trial comparing religious and non-religious messaging in promoting honesty
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008647
Initial registration date
December 06, 2021

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
December 07, 2021, 4:35 PM EST

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

Last updated
January 30, 2022, 10:34 PM EST

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-12-05
End date
2022-06-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Many scholars highlighted the importance of honesty for development (Mokyr 2007, Wolla 2013, and Cohn et al. 2019). Yet, little research is done to promote it, particularly in the developing world (Debono et al. 2017 and Mazar et al. 2008). I propose a randomized control trial to measure the impact of different types of reminders in promoting honesty in Sudan – a developing country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Particularly, how do intrinsic reminders about different values compare to extrinsic reminders about the potential punishment of an authority figure or an institution in increasing honesty? Furthermore, I will frame these reminders using religious and non-religious messages to observe the relative response to these frames in a culture where religious beliefs play an important role in people’s lives.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Abbadi, Mohamed and Kentaro Toyama. 2022. " Honesty in Sudan - A randomized control trial comparing religious and non-religious messaging in promoting honesty." AEA RCT Registry. January 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8647
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Participants will be randomly assigned to one of five arms; a control arm, an extrinsic-religious arm, an intrinsic-religious arm, an extrinsic non-religious arm, and an intrinsic non-religious arm. Those assigned to the control arm will have to type the text from an image that describes the population of Sudan. Those assigned to the extrinsic religious arm will have to type the text from an image that has a verse from the Quran about the punishment of God for wrongdoers. Those assigned to the intrinsic religious arm will type the text from an image that has a hadith (one of prophet Mohamed’s sayings) about the different values that one should adhere to such as honesty and trustworthiness. Participants assigned to the extrinsic non-religious arm will type the text from an image that describes how governments punish their citizens for not obeying the law. Finally, those assigned to the intrinsic non-religious will type the text from an image that describes the importance of honesty as a value for oneself.
Intervention Start Date
2021-12-05
Intervention End Date
2022-03-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The number of reported heads in a coin-flipping game.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Level of honesty. We will ask participants to flip a virtual coin 10 times and for every head they get, they will earn an additional 50 S.D.G in mobile credit.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Using list elicitation to compare the level of honesty between the different arms.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We implement an online randomized control trial to measure the impact of religiously-induced extrinsic and extrinsic messaging and compare them to non-religious ones in promoting honesty in Sudan. We will set up booths at different universities and ask students if they want to participate in an online study. Those who agree will be randomly assigned to one of five arms; a control arm, an extrinsic-religious arm, an intrinsic-religious arm, an extrinsic non-religious arm, and an intrinsic non-religious arm.
Participants will fill out a short demographic survey and after that will be asked to transcribe the text in two pictures and write a paragraph about the picture. One of the pictures will vary according to the experimental condition that a participant is randomly assigned to. After transcription, participants will have the opportunity to earn additional mobile credit by playing the coin-flipping game. After that, they will answer a few survey questions about their beliefs.
Experimental Design Details
The marketing team at a major telecom provider in Sudan will set up booths at different universities and ask students if they want to participate in an online study in return for mobile credit. Those who agree will be asked to screen a barcode that links to the survey. Each participants will be randomly assigned to one of five arms;

Each participant will have to fill out a short demographic survey. After filling out the survey, I will ask them to type the full text from two images with written text. The content of the one image will be similar in length but vary across different experimental conditions. Those assigned to the control arm will have to type the text from an image that describes the population of Sudan. Those assigned to the extrinsic religious arm will have to type the text from an image that has a verse from the Quran about the punishment of God for wrongdoers. Those assigned to the intrinsic religious arm will type the text from an image that has a hadith (one of prophet Mohamed’s sayings) about the different values that one should adhere to such as honesty and trustworthiness. Participants assigned to the extrinsic non-religious arm will type the text from an image that describes how governments punish their citizens for not obeying the law. Finally, those assigned to the intrinsic non-religious will type the text from an image that describes the importance of honesty as a value for oneself. After transcribing the image, they will be asked to write a paragraph about they understood from the text. Following the intervention, they will see another image and will be asked to transcribe it and write what they understood from it.
Following the writing exercise, I will tell participants that a group of researchers is trying to promote online surveys and they can earn additional money if they play the coin-flipping game and answer a few survey questions. In the coin-flipping portion, I will ask them to use one of several websites to play the coin-flipping game 10 times and for every head they get, they earn an additional 50 S.D.G. in mobile credit.
Randomization Method
We use the built-in randomization feature in Qualtrics survey platform to randomly assign participants to one of the treatment arms or control.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
None
Sample size: planned number of observations
1345 individuals (mobile phone subscribers )
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
169 individuals per treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
I use List, Sadoff, and Wagner (2011) equation 6, to compute preliminary sample size requirements. Assuming equal variance between the control and treatment groups, I hope to detect a minimum detectable size of 1/3 standard deviation (δ=1/3 (s.d.)). I calculate the sample size based on a two-tailed test and conventional standard of statistical significance level (α) = 0.05, statistical power (β) = 0.1 to yield a sample size of 269 per group (for a total of 1345 participants).
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Michigan IRB
IRB Approval Date
2021-12-06
IRB Approval Number
HUM00209836
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