June 2014

No. 8286: Screening for Honesty

substantially revised version available as IZA DP No. 9860

We report the results of a field experiment on honesty conducted on 427 Israeli soldiers fulfilling their mandatory military service. Each soldier rolled a six-sided die in private and reported the outcome to the unit's cadet coordinator. For every point reported, the soldier received an additional half hour early release from the army base on Thursday afternoon. We find that the higher a soldier's military entrance score, the more honest he is on average. Moreover, to the extent that honesty is a valued trait, regression discontinuity analysis reveals that the Israeli military has optimally set the threshold score to qualify to be an officer. Our results bear important implications for the design of screening tests that evaluate employee honesty.