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

Author

Listed:
  • Maria de Fátima Rocha

    () (Universidade Fernando Pessoa)

  • Aurora A.C. Teixeira

    () (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 191, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:191
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    File URL: http://www.fep.up.pt/investigacao/workingpapers/05.10.14_WP191_brandaoteixeira.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    2. 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.
    3. Roman Horvath & Eva Kolomaznikova, 2002. "Individual Decision-Making to Commit a Crime: Early Models," Law and Economics 0210001, EconWPA.
    4. 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 541-563, July.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Nuno Garoupa, 2001. "Optimal law enforcement when victims are rational players," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-242, November.
    8. 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.
    9. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
    10. 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 218-223, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:8:d:10.1007_s11573-016-0842-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Maria de Fátima Rocha & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2005. "College cheating in Portugal: results from a large scale survey," FEP Working Papers 197, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    3. 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 214, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; cheating; university; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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