Rationality and Students’ Misconduct at University: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications

  •  Jocelyn Grira    
  •  Louis Jaeck    


We investigate the determinants of students’ misconduct at university. Using a sample of 310 surveyed students, we find that students are more likely to cheat when they have previous misconduct records, when they perceive academic integrity policy as being poorly enforced, and when they perceive that instructor tolerance toward misconduct incidents is high. Moreover, misconduct behavior tends to increase with students’ seniority and the perceived level of course difficulty. Surprisingly, students’ motivations toward reading, writing, and learning do not seem to have a valuable impact on the likelihood of their misconduct. Our findings have important policy implications that relate to the university culture of academic integrity, instructors’ tolerance vis-à-vis students’ misconduct behavior, and the effectiveness of punitive actions.

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