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Academic cheating in Spain and Portugal: An empirical explanation

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Despite its obvious interest and potential for concern, empirical research on the cheating phenomenon among university students has almost exclusively been carried out in the United States, usually covering only a few universities in a given region. Little is known about cheating in European universities, let alone the Iberian Peninsula. In this article we aim to contribute towards filling this gap by presenting evidence of this illicit behaviour in Portugal and Spain. Based on a survey of undergraduate students on Economics and Management courses, we conclude that there is a pervasive culture of cheating in these two countries, reaching relatively high levels in universities. Using econometric techniques, which control for a wide set of variables likely to influence a student's propensity to cheat, we found that Spanish students are relatively more prone to breaching the academic code of conduct than their Portuguese counterparts, and that the implementation of Honour Codes by universities constitute a promising approach in curbing cheating in academia.

Keywords: Portugal; Spain; academic standards; cheating; tertiary education

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: INESC Porto; Faculdade de Economia, CEMPRE, Universidade do Porto. 2: Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Portugal.

Publication date: June 2, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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