Signing at the beginning versus at the end does not decrease dishonesty

Kristal, A S, Whillans, A V, Bazerman, M H, Gino, F, Shu, L L, Mazar, N and Ariely, D (2020) Signing at the beginning versus at the end does not decrease dishonesty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117 (13). pp. 7103-7107. ISSN 0027-8424 OPEN ACCESS


Honest reporting is essential for society to function well. However, people frequently lie when asked to provide information, such as misrepresenting their income to save money on taxes. A landmark finding published in PNAS [L. L. Shu, N. Mazar, F. Gino, D. Ariely, M. H. Bazerman, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 109, 15197–15200
(2012)] provided evidence for a simple way of encouraging honest reporting: asking people to sign a veracity statement at the beginning instead of at the end of a self-report form. Since this finding was published, various government agencies have adopted this practice.

However, in this project, we failed to replicate this result. Across five conceptual replications (n = 4,559) and one highly powered, preregistered, direct replication (n = 1,235) conducted with the authors of the original paper, we observed no effect of signing first on honest reporting. Given the policy applications of this result, it is important to update the scientific record regarding the veracity of these results.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2020 National Academy of Sciences.
Data deposition: Materials, implementation protocol, and all data and code have been deposited at

Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2020 13:40
Date of first compliant deposit: 24 Apr 2020
Subjects: People (Behavioural science)
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 01:59
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