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School cheating and social capital

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  • Marco Paccagnella

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Paolo Sestito

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

In this paper we propose and validate cheating in standardized tests as a new indirect measure of social capital. Given the low-stakes nature of most of the tests examined here, we interpret the widespread presence of cheating as a signal of limited trustin central education authorities. Cheating is negatively correlated with several social capital proxies in the local environment where a school is located (the municipality or the province), even controlling for area-wide differences in social capital and for a number of features of the local environment. When distinguishing between different kinds of social capital – contrasting universalistic and particularistic social values (along the lines of de Blasio, Scalise and Sestito, forthcoming) – cheating appears to be negatively correlated only with measures of universalistic social values (while the correlation of cheating with particularistic social values, if any, is positive). We also document a number of empirical regularities in cheating behavior: (i) within classes student homogeneity is associated with higher cheating (Lucifora and Tonello, 2012); (ii) the presence of external inspectors greatly reduces cheating (Bertoni, Brunello and Rocco, 2013), and to a greater extent in low social capital environments; (iii) in primary schools, cheating is more pervasive in smaller classes; (iv) and a larger share of “local” teachers, or of teachers with a permanent contract, is generally associated with higher levels of cheating.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 952.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_952_14

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Keywords: cheating; social capital;

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  1. Shanker Satyanath & Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany, 1919-33," Working Papers 703, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Marco Bertoni & Giorgio Brunello & Lorenzo Rocco, 2013. "When the cat is near, the mice won't play: the effect of external examiners in Italian schools," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48918, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  4. Fehr, Ernst, 2008. "On the Economics and Biology of Trust," IZA Discussion Papers 3895, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "Interpreting ethnic fragmentation effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 271-276, April.
  6. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
  7. Tabellini, Guido, 2007. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 6534, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Brian A. Jacob & Steven D. Levitt, 2003. "Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating," NBER Working Papers 9413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
  10. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Paolo Sestito, 2013. "Trust and preferences: evidence from survey data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 911, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  11. Barbieri, Gianna & Rossetti, Claudio & Sestito, Paolo, 2011. "The determinants of teacher mobility: Evidence using Italian teachers’ transfer applications," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1430-1444.
  12. Durante, Ruben & Labartino, Giovanna & Perotti, Roberto, 2011. "Academic Dynasties: Decentralization and Familism in the Italian Academia," CEPR Discussion Papers 8645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Lucifora, Claudio & Tonello, Marco, 2012. "Students' Cheating as a Social Interaction: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in a National Evaluation Program," IZA Discussion Papers 6967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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