Cheating the Subway

A few years ago, I hurried to catch a Berlin subway and forgot to buy the $2.10 ticket. Usually nobody checks tickets, although every once in awhile checkers pass through the subway-which they did on that trip! I paid an instant cash fine of $40 and was completely embarrassed and chagrined.

Doping in the Tour de France

Why does Levitt find Landis's allegations so compelling? He describes in great specificity and detail scenarios involving refrigerators hidden in closets, and the precise temperature at which the blood stored in those refrigerators had to be kept; and faked bus breakdowns during which Lance received blood transfusions while lying on the floor of the bus, etc. To make up stories of this kind, with that sort of detail, strikes Levitt as a difficult task.

Cheating Teachers Are a Global Problem

Australian teachers cheat too.

The Truth About College Plagiarism

Despite all the concern over increased plagiarism in the Internet age, concrete figures on the trend are hard to come by. In a new working paper, Brian Jacob (an occasional Levitt co-author) and Thomas Dee conducted a natural field experiment at a "selective post-secondary institution" to shed light on the determinants of student plagiarism.

Fish Gotta Swim, Teachers Gotta Cheat?

Remember the story about the cheating schoolteachers in Chicago? The theory was that high-stakes testing, by putting more pressure on students to pass, creates a stronger incentive for teachers to not leave those students behind - and that a fraction of those teachers, generally the worse ones, went so far as to cheat on behalf of their students.

Looks like it may have been happening in Springfield, Mass., too.

Cheating for a $20

Each year in my 500-student principles class I gather a group of eight students and tell them that I will auction a $20 bill to the highest bidder. If two or more students bid the same thing, the difference between $20 and their joint bid will be divided among the winning bidders. They can collude to fix the price just like oligopolists who violate antitrust laws, but they must mark down their bids in secret.

Apparently I've Ruined Economics (Again)

A few years back, the New Republic accused me of ruining economics.

Now The Economist magazine, in a much more subtle way, makes the same implication. Here's the second sentence of an article entitled “What Went Wrong With Economics”:

The Latest Entry Into the Cheating Hall of Fame

If you like cheating, you have to love British rugby player Tom Williams's ploy last week.

Apparently there is a rule in rugby, as in soccer, that once a substitution is made to take a player out of the match, that player can't return to the game. The exception to this rule is “blood injuries,” in which case a player can come off until the bleeding is stopped and then return to play.

Let's Talk About Tax Cheating: A Freakonomics Quorum

Photo: hoggardb The Internal Revenue Service presumably never likes tax cheats, but when money is tight there is more pressure put on the I.R.S. to step up enforcement and collect more money. The most recent gambit, reported today, is an amnesty program designed to root out offshore tax havens. We once wrote of another I.R.S. […]

The Counterfeit Paper Trade

| Why write a college term paper when you can pay $20 for someone in Nigeria, Ukraine, or — well, O.K., Texas to do it for you? The Chronicle of Higher Education took a look at a leading essay mill with international ties. Says one writer-for-hire: “I took [an assignment] on Christological topics in the […]