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Crime without punishment: An update review of the determinants of cheating among university students

  • Maria de Fátima Rocha

    ()

    (Universidade Fernando Pessoa)

  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira

    ()

    (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

The issue of cheating is a serious problem since it can call the efficiency of an education system into question. Furthermore, it is a devaluing factor in the country's stock of human capital. A student who copies is a free-rider, in the sense that he/she gains a higher grade than that merited by the actual amount of effort expended on study. In addition, it makes it impossible for teachers to fully achieve the goal of effective dissemination to, and acquisition of knowledge by, students. This paper conceptually and methodologically systematizes the phenomenon of academic fraud. Distinct forms of theorizing illegal behaviours are examined, adapting Becker’s crime model (1968) to cheating. A systematic review of the literature has allowed certain direct determinants of the probability of “copying”, not yet investigated, to be identified, viz: 1) the ‘advantages’, in terms of a higher grade, that students see themselves as gaining from fraudulent behaviour in comparison with not indulging in it; 2) the breakdown of students’ grades by nature of discipline - “reasoning” versus “cramming”; and 3) the existence or otherwise of a code of honour in universities. As a result, this paper proposes a new, ‘expanded’, econometric specification for estimating cheating (i.e., the probability of “copying”) based on an analysis of the expected cost-benefit, according to Becker’s model.

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Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series FEP Working Papers with number 191.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:191
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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
  3. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  4. Jerik Hanushek & Dennis Kimko, 2006. "Schooling, Labor-force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 154-193.
  5. 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, vol. 33(2), pages 125-135, June.
  6. Clifford Nowell & Doug Laufer, 1997. "Undergraduate Student Cheating in the Fields of Business and Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 3-12, March.
  7. Nuno Garoupa, 2001. "Optimal law enforcement when victims are rational players," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-242, November.
  8. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  9. Joe Kerkvliet & Charles L. Sigmund, 1999. "Can We Control Cheating in the Classroom?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 331-343, December.
  10. Roman Horvath & Eva Kolomaznikova, 2002. "Individual Decision-Making to Commit a Crime: Early Models," Law and Economics 0210001, EconWPA.
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