Affidavit aversion: Public preferences for trust-based policy instruments

Rinat Hilo-Merkovich*, Eyal Peer, Yuval Feldman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regulators who aim to reduce administrative burdens often promote trust-based policy instruments, such as legal affidavits or honesty pledges, as substitutes to traditional bureaucratic procedures. However, little is known on how the general public view such instruments, and whether people would actually comply with them, and under what circumstances. Using a series of experimental vignettes, we examine public preferences toward these instruments under different conditions and contexts. We find that overall, people exhibit an aversion to using affidavits, even when they are inexpensive and can save a considerable amount of time compared to the traditional bureaucratic procedure. In contrast, honesty pledges are largely preferred over both the standard procedure and signing an affidavit. We discuss factors influencing the public choice of trust-based instruments and offer recommendations to help policymakers promote public compliance using behaviorally informed policy instruments.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalRegulation and Governance
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Regulation & Governance published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.


  • administrative burden
  • honesty pledges
  • legal affidavits
  • public preferences


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