Cheating in academic exams: A field study

Smadar Siev, Doron Kliger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We analyzed students’ decision-making regarding cheating in real-life scenarios of course exams. We examined the activation of the following constructs: people’s natural inclination to act honestly, sense of commitment, and the temptation to engage in cheating when cheating is perceived as a prevailing norm. We employed priming manipulations shaped as statements clarifying the standard of conduct during exams. Statements were printed on the cover pages of the exams, occasionally accompanied by checkboxes. We find that mere exposure to a statement increases cheating rates, while the same statement accompanied by a checkbox decreases them. Further, a reminder of the required standard of conduct was more efficient in reducing cheating rates than a reminder accompanied by a punitive warning. The effect was weaker when the pressure to succeed was high. The results suggest that interventions in the shape of statements and checkboxes on exam cover pages may help in taming examinees’ cheating behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDishonesty in Behavioral Economics
EditorsAlessandro Bucciol, Natalia Montinari
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780128158579
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Academic dishonesty
  • Behavior
  • Cheating
  • Decision making
  • Priming
  • Social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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