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Cheating and Loss Aversion: Do People Cheat More to Avoid a Loss?


  • Grolleau, Gilles
  • Kocher, Martin G.
  • Sutan, Angela


Does the extent of cheating depend on a proper reference point? We use a real-effort matrix task that implements a two (gain versus loss frame) times two (monitored performance versus unmonitored performance) between-subjects design with 600 experimental participants to examine whether the extent of cheating is reference dependent. Self-reported performance in the unmonitored condition is significantly higher than actual performance in the monitored condition-a clear indication of cheating. However, the level of cheating is by far higher in the loss frame than in the gain frame under no monitoring. The fear of a loss seems to lead to more dishonest behavior than the lure of a gain.

Suggested Citation

  • Grolleau, Gilles & Kocher, Martin G. & Sutan, Angela, 2016. "Cheating and Loss Aversion: Do People Cheat More to Avoid a Loss?," Munich Reprints in Economics 43493, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:43493

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