Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 21–41 | Cite as

Academic Misconduct in Portugal: Results from a Large Scale Survey to University Economics/Business Students

  • Aurora A. C. Teixeira
  • Maria de Fátima Oliveira Rocha


The phenomenon of cheating in higher education is of overwhelming importance in that the students engaging in these acts are unlikely to have the skills necessary for their future professional life. Despite its relevance, the empirical evaluation of cheating in universities has been almost exclusively focused on the US context. Little is known about cheating at the European level, let alone in Portugal. Even less is explored at the regional level. In this paper we present evidence on the perception of cheating by Portuguese undergraduate students of economics/business degrees. We undertake a large-scale survey, involving 2675 students from all Portuguese mainland public universities (10). We found that copying-favourable environments are associated with a higher propensity to cheat. Moreover, in universities where ‘codes of honour’ exist, this propensity tends to be lower. Finally, the propensity to copy seems to be highly influenced by the cultural systems and socially-related factors of different regions.


Cheating University Students Portugal Regions 

JEL Codes

A22 I23 R19 



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: 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: Carlos Arriaga (Economics Department/University of Minho), Fernanda Nogueira (Bussiness Department/University of UTAD), José Caldas (Economics Department/University of UTAD).

Professors/Researchers: 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)

A final word of appreciation to Luzia Belchior (FEP—Administrative Office) for her valuable assistance with the optical reading of the survey questionnaires.


  1. Barro, R. J., & Lee, J. W. (2000). International data on educational attainment updates and implications. NBER Working Paper nº 7911, National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  2. Becker, G. S. (1968). Crime and punishment: an economic approach. Journal of Political Economy, 76, 168–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernardi, R. A., Metzger, R. L., Bruno, R. G. S., Hoogkamp, M. A. W., Reyes, L. E., & Barnaby, G. H. (2004). Examining the decision process of students’ cheating behaviour: an empirical Study. Journal of Business Ethics, 50, 397–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bunn, D. N., Caudill, S. B., & Gropper, D. M. (1992). Crime in the classroom: an economic analysis of undergraduate student cheating behavior. Journal of Economic Education, 23, 197–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dick, M., Sheard, J., Bareiss, C., Carter, J., Joyce, D., Harding, T., et al. (2003). Addressing student cheating: definitions and solutions. ACD SIGCSE Bulletin, 35(2), 172–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Diekhoff, G. M., LaBeff, E. E., Shinohara, K., & Yasukawa, H. (1999). College cheating in Japan and the United States. Research in Higher Education, 40(3), 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ehrlich, I. (1973). Participation in illegitimate activities: a Theoretical and empirical investigation. Journal of Political Economy, 81, 521–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Garoupa, N. (2001). Optimal law enforcement when victims are rational players. Economics of Governance, 2, 231–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Greene, W. H. (2003). Econometric analysis. Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  10. Hanushek, E., & Kimbo, D. (2000). Schooling, labor-force quality and growth of nations. The American Economic Review, 90(5), 1184–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Horvath, R., & Kolomaznikova, E. (2002). Individual decision-making to commit a crime: early models. Law and Economics, 0210001, 1–17.Google Scholar
  12. Hosmer, D., & Lemeshow, S. (1989). Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Hrabak, M., Vujaklija, A., Vodopivec, I., Hren, D., Marusic, M., & Marusic, A. (2004). Academic misconduct among medical students in a postcommunist country. Medical Education, 38(3), 276–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kerkvliet, J. (1994). Cheating by economics students: a comparison of survey results. Journal of Economic Education, 25(2), 121–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kerkvliet, J., & Sigmun, C. L. (1999). Can we control cheating in the classroom? Journal of Economic Education, 30(4), 331–351.Google Scholar
  16. Magnus, J. R., Polterovich, V. M., Danilov, D. L., & Savvateev, A. V. (2002). Tolerance of cheating: an analysis across countries. Journal of Economic Education, 33, 125–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McCabe, D. L., & Trevino, L. K. (1997). Individual and contextual influences on academic dishonesty: a multicampus investigation. Research in Higher Education, 38(3), 379–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McCabe, D. L., Butterfield, K. D., & Trevino, L. K. (2003). Faculty and academic integrity: the influence of current honor codes and past honor code experiences. Research in Higher Education, 44(3), 367–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nowell, C., & Laufer, D. (1997). Undergraduate student cheating in the fields of business and economics. Journal of Economic Education, 28, 3–12.Google Scholar
  20. Pulvers, K., & Diekhoff, G. M. (1999). The relationship between academic dishonesty and college classroom environment. Research in Higher Education, 40(4), 487–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rettinger, D. A., Jordan, A. E., & Peschiera, F. (2004). Evaluating the motivation of other students to cheat: a vignette experiment. Research in Higher Education, 45(8), 873–890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rocha, M. F. & Teixeira, A. C. (2005). Crime without punishment: an update review of the determinants of cheating among university students. FEP Working Papers nº 191, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto.Google Scholar
  23. Sheard, J., & Dick, M. (2003). Influences on cheating practice of graduate students in IT courses: what are the factors? ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 35(3), 45–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Teixeira, A. C. C. (2005). Estimating human capital stock in Portugal. An update until 2001. Portuguese Journal of Social Science, 4(2), 101–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tibbets, S. G. (1999). Differences between women and men regarding decisions to commit test cheating. Research in Higher Education, 40(3), 323–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Whitey, B. E., Jr. (1998). Factors associated with cheating among college students: a review. Research in Higher Education, 39(3), 235–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wolpin, K. I. (1978). An economic analysis of crime and punishment in England and Wales, 1894–1967. Journal of Political Economy, 86(5), 815–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurora A. C. Teixeira
    • 1
  • Maria de Fátima Oliveira Rocha
    • 2
  1. 1.CEF.UP Faculdade de Economia do PortoUniversidade do Porto, INESC Porto, OBEGEFPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Universidade Fernando PessoaPortoPortugal

Personalised recommendations