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Feb 25, 2014

Are Charedim more trustworthy than Chilonim?


According to Kooker, four PHDs in economics decided to devise a way of testing the level of truthfulness and honesty of haredi women vs secular women.

The test comprised of the various students who were the test subjects taking a die and rolling it behind a screen. They would then each report on the results of the throw, and the higher the number rolled, the tester would give a higher amount of money to that person - 10NIS per number rolled.

The results of the test showed that the Haredi women reported back truthfully the numbers they actually rolled, even though they could have received more money by lying. The secular women reported back consistently higher numbers, preferring to lie to get more money rather than tell the truth and get less.

Unfortunately Kooker provides no source for further analysis - no written thesis or doctorate pointed to for more details. How many test subjects? How many rounds of testing? How did they discover who was lying and who was telling the truth? Did it really happen or did Kooker make it up? I did a search and did not find this study written about elsewhere, so I don't have the information to provide

Out in the general world it seems like such studies are inconclusive. I found studies that say religious people are more trustworthy, and I found studies that say religious people are less trustworthy.

I would like to believe that being raised with a divine moral code would make an adherent more trustworthy and faithful to his morals than someone who devises his or her own moral code, but I think we need information on this study before coming to a definitive conclusion.

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  1. To be considered conclusive, results would have had to show the Chareidim as more dishonest. Next time they'll try harder I'm sure.

  2. I think it could also depend upon the area of integrity being tested, or the meaningfulness of the issue. For example, winning a small sum of money might be not worth risking one's integrity to a Charedi, while a small prize of money that doesn't belong to their opponent might be "meaningless" enough to lie for to a chiloni. On the other hand, getting a child into a school might be equally tempting or meaningful to lie about - but how to make that a blind statistical experiment?

  3. No idea if this study was actually done or anything else. However, this type of study has been used before to study the effect of the time of day on people's honesty and seems to be an accepted methodology. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/15/honest-in-morning-dishonest-later-in-day_n_4262012.html


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