Higher Education

, Volume 59, Issue 6, pp 663–701 | Cite as

Cheating by economics and business undergraduate students: an exploratory international assessment

  • Aurora A. C. TeixeiraEmail author
  • Maria Fátima Rocha


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.


Cheating University Economics Business Countries 



We are deeply indebt to all students that responded the survey and to the following individuals (in alphabetic order) for permitting and/or implementing the questionnaire underlying this study. Directors in Portugal Antonieta Cunha Sá (UNL/University Nova of Lisboa), Artur Cristóvão (UTAD/University of Alto Douro e Tràs-os-Montes), Fernando Almeida (Economics and Management School/University of Minho), Joaquim Borges Gouveia (Economics, Business and Industrial Engineering Department/University of Aveiro), José Pereirinha (ISEG/University of Lisbon), José Silva Costa (FEP/University of Porto), Manuel Branco (Faculty of Economics/University of Évora), Paulo Rodrigues (Faculty of Economics/University of Algarve), Pedro Botelho (FEUC/University of Coimbra). Department Coordinators in Portugal Carlos Arriaga (Economics Department/University of Minho), Fernanda Nogueira (Bussiness Department/University of UTAD), José Caldas (Economics Department/University of UTAD). Professors/Researchers in Portugal Ana Maria Rodrigues (University of Coimbra), António Caleiro (University of Évora), Arménio Rego (University of Aveiro), Aurora Galego (University of Évora), Carla Amado (University of Algarve), Carlos Ferreira (University of Aveiro), Carlota Quintal (University of Coimbra), Efigénio Rebelo (University of Algarve), Elisabete Félix (University of Évora), Fernando Cardoso (University of Algarve), Francisco Torres (University of Aveiro), Henrique Albergaria (University of Coimbra), Joana Costa (University of Beira Interior), João Paulo Costa (University of Coimbra), José Belbute (University of Évora), José Novais (University of Évora), Margarida Saraiva (University of Évora), Maria Graça Baptista (University of Açores), Maria João Alves (University of Coimbra), Maria João Carneiro (University of Aveiro), Maria João Thompson (University of Minho), Miguel Lebre de Freitas (University of Aveiro), Óscar Afonso (FEP/University of Porto), Patrícia Valle (University of Algarve). Other university staff Ana Paula Teixeira and Cristina Santana (University of Algarve), Sónia Fidalgo (University of Aveiro) and Leonor Dias (University of Coimbra). Professors/Researchers in other countries: Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra (US), André Everett (New Zealand), Andreas Klossek (Germany), Anil Kumar (US), Anne-Christin Stockmeyer (Germany), Axele Giroud (UK), Beatriz Caro (Spain), Carlos Gradín (Spain), Caviola Silvia Maria (Argentina), Celestino Vaz (Mozambique), Dan Popescu (Romenia), Dilek Zamantili Nayir (Turkey), Bernd Ebert (Germany), Eduardo Moreira (Brazil), Elke Kizelmann (Austria), Frances Ruane (Ireland), Ivan Lopez (Spain), Kirsten Lange (Denmark), Lisa Fiacre (France), Luca Panaccione (Italy), Maja Makovec Brencic (Slovenia), Nazan Gunay (Turkey), Nicolae Marinescu (Romenia), Olufemi Akinwale (Nigeria), Patrycia Swierkot (Poland), Peter Forster (France), Sally Burrows (UK), Sandra Milena Santamaria (Colombia), Sanja Kocijan (Slovenia), Sourafel Girma (UK), Stefano Brusoni (Italy). A final word of appreciation to Luzia Belchior (FEP—Administrative Office) for her valuable assistance with the optical reading of the survey questionnaires, and José Mergulhão Mendonça (FEP—Computing Department) for the huge help in devising the on-line international questionnaire.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEF.UPFaculdade Economia, Universidade do Porto; INESC PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Universidade Fernando PessoaPortoPortugal

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