Students Cheat More: Comparing the Dishonesty of a Student Sample and a Representative Sample in the Laboratory

23 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2020

See all articles by Toke Fosgaard

Toke Fosgaard

University of Copenhagen - Institute of Food and Resource Economics

Date Written: January 2020

Abstract

Unethical behavior has been found in numerous experiments, yet mainly among university students. The use of student participants is potentially problematic for generalizability and the resulting policy recommendations. In this paper, I report on an experiment with potential dishonesty. The experiment was completed by a representative non‐student sample and a student sample. The results show that cheating does exist, but also that students cheat systematically more. This suggests that focusing on students as participants tends to overestimate the magnitude of cheating. I further find that age is an important explanation for this difference in dishonesty. The older the participants are, the less they cheat.

Keywords: Age differences, cheating, experimental methods, non‐students, students

Suggested Citation

Fosgaard, Toke, Students Cheat More: Comparing the Dishonesty of a Student Sample and a Representative Sample in the Laboratory (January 2020). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 122, Issue 1, pp. 257-279, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3620261 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12326

Toke Fosgaard (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Institute of Food and Resource Economics ( email )

Rolighedsvej 25
Copenhagen, 1958
Denmark

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