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Honest Tea, a Bethesda, Md.-based independent operating unit of The Coca-Cola Co., conducted The 2014 National Honesty Index and found that, when faced with a choice to be honest or not, 95 percent of Americans were honest, up from 92 percent in 2013.
From July 16 to Aug. 12, Honest Tea set up unmanned kiosks of cold Honest Tea beverages offered for $1 on the honor system in 60 locations across all 50 states and in Washington, D.C. At every site, information was collected including the number of people who paid for or stole a beverage as well as observable characteristics such as gender and hair color.
In a new twist this year, an online component was added to test the honesty of people on the Internet via an honor pact. Through a Facebook application, people were asked to share an inspirational quote on their wall, or not, in return for a coupon. In total, more than 28,000 people participated in person and online.
“We seek to infuse honesty into everything we do, from the way we run the company to the organic ingredients we use, so we developed this experiment to see if people around the country share that same value,” said Seth Goldman, co-founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea, in a statement. “The 95 percent honesty rate that we saw this year suggests that Americans are a lot more honest than we give ourselves credit for.”
Highlights of this year’s results include the following findings:
• Participants in Honolulu were 100 percent honest for two years in a row.
• Washington, D.C., was the study’s most improved city, rising 16 percentage points to 96 percent honesty compared with 2013.
• Minneapolis and Providence, R.I., tied for the biggest dip in honesty year over year, dropping 12 percentage points each to 81 percent and 80 percent, respectively.
• Participants in the online experiment (as determined by authenticating via a Facebook application) were 95 percent honest. People identifying their relationship status on Facebook as “separated” (100 percent honest) proved to be more honest than users who listed as “engaged” (94 percent honest).
• Like last year, women this year proved to be more honest than men, slightly edging them out at 95 percent vs. 93 percent.
• For the second year in a row, blondes came out as the most honest hair color with 95 percent. People with black hair were the least honest at 91 percent.
To view an infographic of the results, click here.
The complete National Honesty Index results are available at www.nationalhonestyindex.com. Site visitors also can play a game to challenge their assumptions on honesty, analyze the statistics, and obtain a personalized honesty profile that examines astrological signs, Facebook relationship status and other details.
Honest Tea will donate all of the funds collected from the on-site social experiments to FoodCorps, a nationwide team of emerging leaders that connects kids to real food, helping them grow up healthy.