Does Commitment to a No-Cheating Rule Affect Academic Cheating?
54 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2018 Last revised: 16 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 1, 2019
Educators around the globe often require students to commit to academic integrity by signing a no-cheating declaration. This paper evaluates how such no-cheating declarations affect academic cheating. Exploiting data from a field experiment with undergraduate students, we identify cheating by comparing the similarity in multiple-choice answers of seat neighbors and counterfactual neighbors. Our main finding is that students plagiarize more after having signed a no-cheating declaration. This effect is driven by students of below-average ability. Regarding channels, we find evidence suggesting that requesting a commitment to a no-cheating rule weakens the social norm of academic integrity and triggers psychological reactance.
Keywords: commitment, compliance, cheating, declaration of compliance, deterrence, ethics, lying, enforcement, monitoring, signature
JEL Classification: C91, C93, D03, D81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation