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Cheating in primary school: Experimental evidence on ego-depletion and individual factors

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We contribute to the experimental literature on primary school students’ cheating behavior by studying i) how cheating is influenced by ego depletion; ii) how it correlates with different individual factors. We carried out a large-scale, pre-registered experiment in the field of 28 Hungarian primary schools (126 classrooms) on a voluntary subsample of 1,143 students at grade levels 4 to 8. Students’ cheating behavior was measured by the incentivized dice-roll experiment. We find suggestive evidence that our light-touch treatment on ego-depletion increased students’ deceptive behavior. Cheating behavior correlated weakly with students’ individual characteristics. In a multivariate context controlling for between-classroom differences, we document that students’ cognitive ability correlated negatively, while their age positively, with their cheating behavior. We found students’ social context (their classroom belonging) as a more decisive determinant of students’ cheating behavior than individual characteristics.

2024

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2024

Máj

24

H

K

Sz

Cs

P

Sz

V

29

30

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