Cheating by Economics and Business Undergraduate Students. An Exploratory International Assessment

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Aurora Teixeira
Maria de Fátima Rocha
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Today's economics and business students are expected to be our future business people and potentially the economic leaders and politicians of tomorrow. Thus, their beliefs and practices are liable to affect the definition of acceptable economics and business ethics. The empirical evaluation of the phenomenon of cheating in academia has almost exclusively focused on the US context, and non-US studies usually only cover a narrow range of countries. This paper presents a comprehensive, cross-country study on the magnitude and determinants of cheating among economics and business undergraduates, involving 7,213 students enrolled in 42 universities located in 21 countries from the American (4), European (14), Africa (2) and Oceania (1) Continents. We found that the average magnitude of copying among economics and business undergraduates is quite high (62%) but there was significant cross-country heterogeneity. The probability of cheating is significantly lower in students enrolled in schools located in the Scandinavian, and the US and British Isles blocks when compared with their Southern European counterparts; quite surprisingly this probability is also lower for the African block. On a distinctly different level, however, students enrolled in schools in Western and especially Eastern European countries reveal statistically significant higher propensities towards committing academic fraud.