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The traditional cost/benefit explanation of when people cheat and when they don’t relies on the 1) expected benefits of cheating, 2) probability of being caught, and 3) the magnitude of punishment. This theory suggests that people also avoid cheating to maintain positive perceptions of themselves. Because most people like to think of themselves as moral, they will reinterpret dishonest behavior in a moral way. People will enjoy the benefits of cheating until the behavior clearly violates their positive self-view.
Mazar, Nina, On Amir, and Dan Ariely (2008) "The Dishonesty of Honest People: A Theory of Self-Concept Maintenance." Journal of Marketing Research 45:633-44.