A cross-country evaluation of cheating in academia: is it related to ‘real world’ business ethics?
Today’s economics and business students are expected to be our future’s business people and potentially our tomorrow’s economic leaders and politicians. Thus, their beliefs and practices are likely to affect the definition of acceptable economics and business ethics. The empirical evaluation of the cheating phenomenon in academia has been almost exclusively focused on the US context, and the non-US studies involve, in general, a narrow scope of countries. In the present paper we perform a wide cross-country study on the determinants of economics and business undergraduate cheating which involves 21 countries from the American (4), European (14), Africa (2) and Oceania (1) Continents and 7213 students. We found that the average magnitude of copying among the economics and business undergraduates is quite high (62%) but with a significant cross-country heterogeneity. The probability of cheating is significantly lower in students enrolled in schools located in the Nordic or the US plus British Isles blocks when compared with their South Europe counterparts; quite surprisingly that probability is also lower for the African block. Distinctly, students enrolled in schools from the Western and especially from the Eastern Europe observe statistically significant higher propensities for perpetrating academic fraud. Our findings further suggest that average cheating propensity in academia is significantly correlated with ‘real world’ business corruption.
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