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Conference Proceeding

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Many researchers study the subject of collegiate cheating by focusing on demographic characteristics of cheaters at schools of varying sizes. Other researchers examine whether collegiate honor codes can abate rampant cheating. A third group studies whether perceptions of what students believe to be cheating behaviors affects actual cheating. This paper incorporates previous research and develops a model of academic cheating based on three sets of incentives - moral, social and economic – and how they affect self-reported cheating behaviors at liberal arts colleges. An on-line survey was administered to students from three liberal arts colleges in spring 2008. The nearly 700 respondents provide a robust data set with nearly half of the respondents coming from institutions with honor codes in place. Econometric models using ordinary least squares highlight the determinants of cheating and whether honor codes are efficacious. The results will be useful in the national dialogue regarding college cheating.


Originally published in Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Economic Association 2008 Conference held June 5-7, 2008, at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.