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The Determinants of Cheating by High School Economics Students: A Comparative Study of Academic Dishonesty in the Transitional Economies

Paul Grimes () and Jon Rezek

International Review of Economic Education, 2005, vol. 4, issue 2, 23-45

Abstract: Secondary school students in six transitional economies, Belarus, Croatia, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine, along with students in the USA, were surveyed about academic cheating. Regardless of geographic location, a substantial majority of all students reported that they had cheated on an exam or course assignment. In general, however, the percentages of students who reported that they had cheated and that they would assist others to cheat were higher in the transitional economies than in the USA. A bivariate probit regression model was estimated to determine the factors that contribute to the probability of cheating. The results indicated that the most consistently significant determinants were personal beliefs about the ethics and social acceptability of cheating and various attributes of the classroom environment. With the exceptions of Lithuania and Ukraine, students in each transitional economy had a higher probability of cheating relative to students in the USA, ceteris paribus. The relative differences ranged from 8.9% for Belarus up to 17.1% for Croatia. For Russia, the difference was a relatively high 15.4%. These and other results suggest that researchers must be extremely careful in making cross-national comparisons of student outcomes in the transitional zone if cheating trends are ignored.

Date: 2005
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