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Students' Cheating as a Social Interaction: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in a National Evaluation Program

  • Lucifora, Claudio


    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Tonello, Marco


    (Catholic University Milan)

We analyze students' cheating behavior during a national evaluation test. We model the mechanisms that trigger cheating interactions between students and show that, when monitoring is not sufficiently accurate, a social multiplier may magnify the effects on students' achievements. We exploit a randomized experiment, which envisaged the presence of an external inspector in the administration and marking of the tests, to estimate a structural (endogenous) social multiplier in students' cheating. The empirical strategy exploits the Excess-Variance approach (Graham, 2008). We find a strong amplifying role played by social interactions within classrooms: students' cheating behaviors more than double the class average test scores results. The effects are found to be larger when students are more homogeneous in terms of parental background characteristics and social ties.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6967.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as: "Cheating and social interactions. Evidence from a randomized experiment in a national evaluation program", Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 115, 2015, 45–66
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6967
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  1. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2009. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1239-1267.
  2. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari, 2013. "Understanding Social Interactions: Evidence from the Classroom," NBER Working Papers 19202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. D'Haultfoeuille, Xavier & Davezies, Laurent & Fougère, Denis, 2006. "Identification of Peer Effects Using Group Size Variation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5865, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, 2014. "Can Achievement Peer Effect Estimates Inform Policy? A View from Inside the Black Box," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 514-523, July.
  5. Bertoni, Marco & Brunello, Giorgio & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2012. "When the Cat Is Near, the Mice Won't Play: The Effect of External Examiners in Italian Schools," IZA Discussion Papers 6629, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Scott E. Carrell & Richard L. Fullerton & James E. West, 2009. "Does Your Cohort Matter? Measuring Peer Effects in College Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 439-464, 07.
  7. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati, 2012. "Indirect Effects of a Policy Altering Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the Italian Prison Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 199-218, April.
  8. Bramoullé, Yann & Djebbari, Habiba & Fortin, Bernard, 2009. "Identification of peer effects through social networks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 41-55, May.
  9. Ammermüller, Andreas & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," IZA Discussion Papers 2077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Clark, Andrew E. & Lohéac, Youenn, 2005. ""It Wasn't Me, It Was Them!" - Social Influence in Risky Behavior by Adolescents," IZA Discussion Papers 1573, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Entorf, Horst & Lauk, Martina, 2007. "Peer effects, social multipliers and migrants at school: An international comparison," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 57, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  12. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & Silvia Redaelli, 2010. "Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 241-75, April.
  13. Scott E. Carrell & Frederick V. Malmstrom & James E. West, 2008. "Peer Effects in Academic Cheating," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
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