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College cheating in Portugal: results from a large scale survey


Author Info

  • Maria de Fátima Rocha

    (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto and Universidade Fernando Pessoa)

  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira

    (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)


The phenomenon of cheating among academics is of overwhelming importance in that the students engaging in it are most unlikely to have the skills necessary for their future professional life. Despite its relevance, the empirical evaluation of college cheating has been almost exclusively focused on the US context. Little is known about college cheating at the European level let alone Portugal. Less even in investigated at the regional level. In this paper we present evidence on cheating perception by Portuguese undergraduate students of economics and business courses. We undertake a large scale survey, involving 2675 students from all Portuguese mainland public universities. We found that (1) the likelihood of copying is increased when the expected benefit in terms of grade is positive; (2) copying-favourable environments – the high frequency with which students observe the act of copying, familiarity with someone that copies regularly, and the students’ opinion regarding copying – are associated with higher cheating propensity; (3) the higher and more serious students perceive sanctions, fewer incentives they have to perpetrate dishonest behaviours – in universities where ‘codes of honour’ exist, the propensity for copying among students is lower; (4) the propensity for copying seems to be highly influenced by regions’ cultural systems and social related factors - students who reside on a permanent basis in southern, inland regions, especially in Alentejo-related areas, present a significantly higher propensity to academic fraud than students from other areas of Portugal.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series FEP Working Papers with number 197.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:197

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Keywords: cheating; university; cost/benefit; regions;

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  1. Dennis D. Kimko & Eric A. Hanushek, 2000. "Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1184-1208, December.
  2. Joe Kerkvliet & Charles L. Sigmund, 1999. "Can We Control Cheating in the Classroom?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 331-343, December.
  3. Maria de Fátima Rocha & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2005. "Crime without punishment: An update review of the determinants of cheating among university students," FEP Working Papers, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto 191, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  4. Jan R. Magnus & Victor M. Polterovich & Dmitri L. Danilov & Alexei V. Savvateev, 2002. "Tolerance of Cheating: An Analysis Across Countries," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 125-135, June.
  5. Nuno Garoupa, 2001. "Optimal law enforcement when victims are rational players," Economics of Governance, Springer, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-242, November.
  6. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers, Center for International Development at Harvard University 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  7. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  8. Roman Horvath & Eva Kolomaznikova, 2002. "Individual Decision-Making to Commit a Crime: Early Models," Law and Economics, EconWPA 0210001, EconWPA.
  9. Clifford Nowell & Doug Laufer, 1997. "Undergraduate Student Cheating in the Fields of Business and Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 3-12, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Fátima Rocha & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2006. "A cross-country evaluation of cheating in academia: is it related to ‘real world’ business ethics?," FEP Working Papers, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto 214, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.


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