Why Cheating is Good for the Cheated


According to behavioral economics, most people are more than willing to punish third-party cheaters, as it as seen just. But according to Jessica Medhurst in her article “Why Cheating is good for the cheated”, it is seen that cheating has its own economic benefits but in interesting ways. Medhurst claims that in scenarios like Live Nation and scalp bots (computer programs that immediately buy out tickets), the interests of both the cheaters and firm can be in alignment. While these situations might create customer frustration, it creates instant economic benefit for the firm to turn around as investment; assuredly selling a portion of tickets allow LiveNation and TicketMaster to keep costs low and prices down. Consumer backlash is hard to avoid, but it is an economic cost to serve an economic benefit. Medhurst goes on to recount how Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson was found to have a fraud Computer Science degree on his resume. she explains that “ this is likely because people understand that careers can be made on opportunities, and to a large degree the amount and quality of opportunities one arrives at is down to luck, or better explained as path dependency.” In this light, a cheater is applying game theory to justify their cheating, that the  structure of the game reveals the best strategy as cheating. This sort of game does not consider moral implications necessarily, but what is ethical when everyone is doing the same thing, as Medhurt further explains: “This is not to say that the exaggerators, or the ‘cheaters’ do not deserve to get the job or university place in question, but rather, they ‘cheat’ because they have to in order to get something that they know they deserve.” 

Though Medhurst’s explanation, cheating is a necessary evil when the game played is competitive enough to require it. Although some situations of cheating create absolute economic bads, some “cheating” is more so a form of bluffing that can create economic goods if the risk creates returns. While certainly cheating is never encouraged, it may equally be an unwritten rule that most competitive players abide by. More importantly, if the system is run by cheaters, there is no cheating. 

2 thoughts on “Why Cheating is Good for the Cheated”

  1. This is interesting, in a way the author is implying that cheating may become a nash equilibrium. As more people cheat the gains from cheating will surly decrease and the benefits from cheating will be canceled out.

  2. The beginning of this article, addressing Live Nation, brings to light the problems associated with having a large, online ticket retailer. I do not think that having an computer program buying tickets helps consumers, as stated above. The article argues that “assuredly” knowing they will sell tickets does not help drive down costs. It creates more demand for tickets and creates a market for scalped tickets, which causes the price of the tickets to be above face value. I do not believe that this ‘cheating’ benefits consumers in any way. If a show does not sell out, then you can imply that it was overpriced to begin with. Adding more competition for prices does not help drive down the cost.

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