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Cheating in Academia: The Relevance of Social Factors

Author

Listed:
  • Alessandro Bucciol

    () (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

  • Simona Cicognani

    () (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

  • Natalia Montinari

    () (University of Bologna)

Abstract

We implemented an online anonymous survey targeted to current and former university students, where the interviewed are asked to indicate whether and to what extent they cheated during written exams. We want to learn if cheating is widespread, and if it correlates with social factors such as the level of trust in others, the beliefs about the peers’ dishonesty and perceived level of opportunism in the society. We find that 61% of the respondents report to have cheated once or more. Cheaters are more likely to report that their classmates and friends cheated, and that in general people can be trusted. In contrast, being aware of the sanction, earning top grades and thinking that people are willing to take advantage of others is negatively correlated with self-reported cheating. There is evidence of two different cheating styles: “social cheaters”, who self-report mostly that they have violated the rules interacting with others; “individualistic” cheaters, who self-report mostly that they have used prohibited materials. Only social cheaters seem affected by social factors: they exhibit higher levels of trust and lower levels of perceived opportunism compared to individualistic cheaters, while no differences between the two groups are found when looking at other dimensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Bucciol & Simona Cicognani & Natalia Montinari, 2017. "Cheating in Academia: The Relevance of Social Factors," Working Papers 15/2017, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:15/2017
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    File URL: http://dse.univr.it/home/workingpapers/wp2017n15.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Scott E. Carrell & Frederick V. Malmstrom & James E. West, 2008. "Peer Effects in Academic Cheating," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
    2. Mathieu Lefebvre & Pierre Pestieau & Arno Riedl & Marie Villeval, 2015. "Tax evasion and social information: an experiment in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 401-425, June.
    3. Sergio Currarini & Matthew O. Jackson & Paolo Pin, 2009. "An Economic Model of Friendship: Homophily, Minorities, and Segregation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1003-1045, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950.
    6. Hauk, Esther & Saez-Marti, Maria, 2002. "On the Cultural Transmission of Corruption," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 311-335, December.
    7. Atanasov, Pavel & Dana, Jason, 2011. "Leveling the playing field: Dishonesty in the face of threat," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 809-817.
    8. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Academic cheating; Honesty; Trust; Online survey;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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