Information and Credible Sanctions in Curbing Online Cheating Among Undergraduates: A Field Experiment

40 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2022 Last revised: 21 Apr 2022

See all articles by Daniel Dench

Daniel Dench

Georgia Institute of Technology

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2022

Abstract

The rapid increase in online instruction in higher education has heightened concerns about cheating. We use a randomized control design to test whether informing students that we can detect plagiarism reduces cheating. We further test whether informing students they have been caught cheating reduces subsequent cheating. We find informing students about our capability to detect plagiarism has little effect on cheating. Notifying students that they have been caught cheating and are on a watch list reduces subsequent cheating attempts by at least 65 percent depending on the class and sample. We test for peer effects but conclude we cannot credibly identify peer effects distinct from own-cheating propensities.

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Suggested Citation

Dench, Daniel and Joyce, Theodore J., Information and Credible Sanctions in Curbing Online Cheating Among Undergraduates: A Field Experiment (February 2022). NBER Working Paper No. w29755, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4034205

Daniel Dench (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

Theodore J. Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

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