Some of the biggest and most controversial decisions in the game have involved this very topic. Diving or “simulation” as is the correct vernacular, is when a player pretends that they have been fouled in order to win a free kick or penalty. Scoring in football is hard, a penalty or free kick within 25 yards is great opportunity for teams to get a goal. If a player is caught simulating, they are issued with a yellow card. So, the reward really does out way the risk especially for penalties. The only circumstance where it does not is when a player is caught simulating and they are already on a yellow card meaning that they would then be sent off.
Personally, I have never dived, it doesn’t really come into my mind when I play. There is no thought that says, “I am going to go into this and try and win a penalty”. That’s just me, I am too focused on not losing the ball (because it happens very often). I would like to think that most people also have that attitude as well. I do know some people who say they have dived or at least attempted to dive (very badly). They do it for the same reason as Ronaldo, Neymar and Suarez, its hard to score and a penalty no matter what level is a great opportunity to do so. Depending on the situation, it may even end up with an opposition player being sent off.
Now it seems unfair to me that the defensive team could concede a goal and lose a player as a result of an attacking player diving. But an offensive team only receives concede a yellow card and a free kick.