Contract Cheating & the Market in Essays

Dan Rigby (Lead Author), Michael Burton, Kelvin Balcombe, Ian Bateman, Abay Mulatu

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58 Citations (Scopus)
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We conduct the first empirical economic investigation of the decision to cheat by university students. We investigate student demand for essays, using hypothetical discrete choice experiments in conjunction with consequential Holt–Laury gambles to derive subjects’ risk preferences. Students’ stated willingness to participate in the essay market, and their valuation of purchased essays, vary with the characteristics of student and institutional environment. Risk preferring students, those working in a non-native language, and those believing they will attain a lower grade are willing to pay more. Purchase likelihoods and essay valuations decline as the probability of detection and associated penalty increase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-37
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Early online date26 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Cheating
  • Choice experiment
  • Mixed logit
  • Risk preference
  • Gamble
  • Asymmetric information

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