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Rational Ignorance in Education: A Field Experiment in Student Plagiarism

  • Thomas S. Dee
  • Brian A. Jacob

Plagiarism appears to be a common problem among college students, yet there is little evidence on the effectiveness of interventions designed to minimize plagiarism. This study presents the results of a field experiment that evaluated the effects of a web-based educational tutorial in reducing plagiarism. 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 followup survey suggests that the intervention reduced plagiarism by increasing student knowledge rather than by increasing the perceived probabilities of detection and punishment.

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/47/2/397
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 47 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 397-434

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:ii:1:p:397-434
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. 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.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  4. 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.
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