Rational Ignorance in Education: A Field Experiment in Student Plagiarism
AbstractDespite the concern that student plagiarism has become increasingly common, there is relatively little objective data on the prevalence or determinants of this illicit behavior. This study presents the results of a natural field experiment designed to address these questions. Over 1,200 papers were collected from the students in undergraduate courses at a selective post-secondary institution. Students in half of the participating courses were randomly assigned to a requirement that they complete an anti-plagiarism tutorial before submitting their papers. We found that assignment to the treatment group substantially reduced the likelihood of plagiarism, particularly among student with lower SAT scores who had the highest rates of plagiarism. A follow-up survey of participating students suggests that the intervention reduced plagiarism by increasing student knowledge rather than by increasing the perceived probabilities of detection and punishment. These results are consistent with a model of student behavior in which the decision to plagiarize reflects both a poor understanding of academic integrity and the perception that the probabilities of detection and severe punishment are low.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15672.
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Thomas S. Dee & Brian A. Jacob, 2012. "Rational Ignorance in Education: A Field Experiment in Student Plagiarism," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 397-434.
- I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
- K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
- Gary Galles & Philip E. Graves & Robert L. Sexton & Surrey M. Walton, 2003. "Monitoring Costs and Tolerance Levels for Classroom Cheating," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 713-719, October.
- Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004.
Artefactual Field Experiments
00058, The Field Experiments Website.
- Mansour, Hani & Rees, Daniel I., 2011.
"The Effect of Prenatal Stress on Birth Weight: Evidence from the al-Aqsa Intifada,"
IZA Discussion Papers
5535, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Hani Mansour & Daniel I. Rees, 2011. "The Effect of Prenatal Stress on Birth Weight: Evidence from the al-Aqsa Intifada," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1108, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.