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Researchers studying academic dishonesty in college often focus on demographic characteristics of cheaters and discuss changes in cheating trends over time. To predict cheating behavior, some researchers examine the costs and benefits of academic cheating, while others view campus culture and the role which honor codes play in affecting behavior. This paper develops a model of academic cheating based on three sets of incentives - moral, social and economic—and how they affect cheating behaviors. An on-line survey comprising 61 questions was administered to students from three liberal arts colleges in the USA in spring 2008, yielding 700 responses, with half from colleges with honor codes. Econometric modelling indicates that students ultimately seeking MBA degrees, and those who lack a perception of what constitutes cheating, undertake more cheating, regardless of whether an honor code is in place. Additionally, unless an honor code is embraced by the college community, the existence of an honor code by itself will not reduce cheating.


The item available here for download is the authors' final version of an article originally published online in Accounting Education, July 2011, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 231-245.

The final publication is available at Taylor & Francis via