The Relationship between Academic Cheating and Financial Fraud


In recent years, there is an increasing number of educators and lawmakers pay extreme attention to the sophisticated problem of academic cheating of college-going students and financial fraud of bank managers in China. Although a great number of departments such as the Chinese Bureau of Education and faculty in Chinese universities have taken the action to solve this problem, it does not work very effectively. For example, because students always want to get a good grade in their essay and parents want to send their children to better school, Chinese-going students are more likely to find ghostwriters and parents are more likely to bribe education officers in order to create a better study environment for their children. This literature review uses fraud triangle to takes stock of one method in order to discuss the relationship between academic fraud and financial fraud: education policy. The paper compares academic cheating and financial fraud by using the fraud triangle which was put forward by Donald R. Cressey and Edwin Sutherland in 1953. This theory explains that under the combined action of three elements, pressure, opportunity, and rationalization will cause cheating behavior. The fraud triangle is a model which is used to explain the reason why people decide to commit cheat behaviors such as academic cheating and financial fraud. This examination of the principle of the educational sphere for avoiding students cheating indicates the limitations of education policy and suggests the demand for an extensive solution that connects parents’ influence, friends’ pressure, satisfaction, opportunity and social to this sophisticated problem. (word count: 257)

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A Review of the Literature

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a severely afflicted area in China. There are a great number of Chinese websites that provide prohibited GMAT information such as the website called Simpion and a great number of “proxies” who are employed replaces test takers. In 2009, the Graduate Management Admission Commission (GMAC) has already canceled 32 Chinese test takers’ score and forbidden 24 of them from participating in the GMAT exam for 5 years. (Damast, 2009) Meanwhile, this journal relates to showing that Chinese students do not take seriously about their academic cheating behavior[footnoteRef:1]or they think they have a chance to escape being punished. Besides, the newspaper shows that 43.4 percent of respondents think plagiarism is really or rather serious in China. About 55.5 percent said that they were sure of at least one case of plagiarism. (Xinhua News Agency, 2009) The lack of punishment and warming notice advice that education policy have a limitation in stopping student cheating by answering the following questions: [1: Academic cheating is a dishonesty behavior related to the educational area. For example, the student who hired ghostwriters and the student who cheated in the exam are considered as academic cheating behaviors.]

  1. What are the influences of academic cheating and financial fraud?
  2. What factors will cause college-going students to cheat?
  3. Is education policy valid at avoiding cheating?
  4. Is education policy a good way to solve the problem?

Knowing the weakness of education policy features the complicated of the relationship between academic cheating and financial fraud. [2: Financial fraud is criminal deception in a financial transaction for personal benefits. For example, the businessman who did money laundry and the bank manager who open shadow bank are considered as financial cheating behaviors.

Academic cheating behavior can be a sophisticated problem for both individual and society. Academic cheating behavior put both college-going students and graduate students into an embarrassing situation. On the one hand, the public doesn’t believe the authenticity of the essay wrote by graduated students and public will have a stereotyped image towards those students. On the other hand, it becomes more and more difficult for college-going students to write an essay. Chinese famous actor, Zhai Tianlin, who is a Beijing Film Academy Ph.D. graduate and postdoctoral candidate at Peking University, in his 2783 words paper, 1482 words were copied from other texts, indicating a 40.4% similarity score. (Verberg, 2019) This case involves two representing an institution of higher educations, Peking University and Beijing Film Academy, which should not have a scandal about academic dishonorable behavior. Since what happened in Chinese most famous university, it exposes that Chinese education policy has a big flaw in the aspect of avoiding cheating. More serious, because of this event, the public declines their trust in Chinese education, especially to high-quality level education. It will become more and more difficult to have foreign students to study in China universities.

As for financial fraud, it leads to a lot of losses. Wall Street regulator charges Goldman Sachs with one billion dollars fraud because Goldman Sachs deceive sub-prime investors. On the one hand, the bank allegedly let hedge fund influence transactions. It caused an unfair situation for other companies. On the other hand, there is a concern that over losses will be borne by the British taxpayer. (Andrew, 2010) If the losses will be borne by taxpayers, it will cause big damage to their families and influence their life quality deeply. Connecting to the last paragraph, the relationship between academic cheating and financial fraud is that they both have a bad influence on the individual and social area. So, it’s necessary to take measures to stop academic cheating and financial fraud.

Research that discusses social-motivation factors, approachability of the teacher, relationship goal of students, and perception of cheating norms whether will affect the cheating behavior of business students. (Tsui, A. and Ngo, H., 2016, p.365) It shows that “teachers’ hierarchical relationship with students did not produce negative effects on students’ learning and dishonest behavior” (p.370) Besides, “Chinese students might be more sensitive to peer evaluations and responsive to peer group pressure for disapproval of dishonest behavior” (p.371) It means that in China, students are more like to cheat because of the pressure from their peers.

Another researcher called David (2015) writes an article about the relationship between internal characteristics to academic cheating. This article is about the relationships between academic cheating and personal values, self-esteem, and mastery. The author also works on academic cheating from psychologists, teachers, media, politicians and the general public and find that self-esteem and mastery feeling is negatively associated with cheating. Students who have a more optimistic view on human nature cheat less. In conclusion, this study supports the idea that cheating relates to some internal characteristics but also have some external factors. This conclusion point to fraud triangle model. Joseph T. Wells (2002) analysis that for fraud to occur, three conditions must be present. As academic cheating is also a kind of fraud, pressure, opportunity, and rationalization are causing students to cheat.

Besides, the Culture of the university has great effects on academic cheating. Blum (2009) conducted a large range of interviews by students with students to find out whether there is a connection between increasing academic cheating and university culture. She found that current college culture is that the cost of college study is enormous, the number of salaries is determined by GPA and students are glad to share are with others (p. 5). This changing culture of colleges severely increases college-going students’ academic cheating (p. 10).

Education policy should be a good way to avoid academic cheating. However, the education policy in China has a lot of limitations. The research result showed that there are many problems with China’s higher education system, such as plagiarism and the lack of academic integrity. (Friedam, 2010) There are two main reasons why cheating behaviors are hard to stop. The first reason is that China education policy has a policy which is called talents encourage policy. The people who have high education level can get a preferential policy in housing allowance, study abroad, science reward, children’s education and medical insurance. (Yang, 2017) The incentive policy is so intriguing that many students are struggled to go to the high education level in order to get a preferential policy. However, some students are not talented enough to get a high education level or graduate from their schools. As a result, those students are more likely to do academic cheating in order to get a fake degree. We can draw a conclusion that the incentive policy has limitation and it will accelerate academic cheating.

The second reason is that not only Chinese college-going students have dishonest behaviors. Chinese college teachers have academically dishonest behaviors too. For example, an associate professor at Tongji University resigned from his position because he plagiarized a test and gave to his students. The test was from another college professor and this is an example of academic cheating. (Li, 2010) The vice president of Southwest Jiaotong University was found guilty of lifting large parts of his doctorate dissertation from the work of a Nobel-nominated Chinese economist. (Yang, 2010) What’s more, the president of the Wuhan University of Technology was found to copy the result of a Chilean scientist in a paper which was submitted to a national science conference. (Zhang, 2009) Because of the examples, the public will doubt why those dishonest people can be selected to be a professor at a university. If the college teachers have academic cheating behaviors, it’s hard for their students to be an honest person in the academic area. On the contrary, if the college teacher is an honest person in the academic area, they will bring a positive influence on their students. It also showed that the China education policy have limitation and it should strengthen the constraint of the teachers.

The incentive policy has limitation and it accelerates the academic cheating behaviors. Martinelli and Parker (2018) used the data from the Aligning Learning Incentives (ALI) experiment collecting 40,000 students of 88 high schools to find out whether the incentives to students and teachers have effects on academic cheating. The result is that these incentives promote academic cheating (pp. 298-325) Meanwhile, incentive and relative performance also influence on financial statement misrepresentation. Country encourages the increasing of GDP and it will accelerate the increase of financial fraud. (Jacobides, 2007)

Two researchers Singh S.& Remenyi D. work out that we should have a great number of oral examinations to eliminate the entire issue of ghostwriting or kinds of academic cheating behavior, however, “the current university examination system is ill-equipped to deal with” (p.5) It shows that the education policy does not have firmed rule to force students’ behavior. Moreover, when students trade with ghostwriters, the income of ghostwriters will not report to the government because it is illegal, so the existing of ghostwriters not only will help students to cheat but also cause financial fraud. That is the relationship between academic cheating and financial fraud. Forbidding students find ghostwriters is to prevent them from cheating, also prevent to have fraud in the financial area. Sometimes, students have cheating behavior unconsciously. They do not know they are cheating because the education does not tell them using others’ theories need to cite or indicate the source. Chinese education does not care about this problem since students are young. China begins to take a serious attitude to intellectual property rights in recent years, so students did not have this custom to protect others right as academic cheating become heavy in China. In conclusion, our education policy should equip students with the awareness of protecting intellectual property rights from an early age and have some examinations to test students’ behavior in order to ask every university takes an action about refusing plagiarism.

If regulations by lawmaker and educators are combined, education policy is a good method to avoid cheating of college-going students. Thakkar and Weisfeld-Spolter (2012) surveyed 250 undergraduate students from a North Eastern University about their opinion of cheating. They found that a great number of students believe that if punishment and code honors could be mixed reasonably, the rate of academic cheating will heavily decrease (p. 81). The publish of cheating regulations by lawmakers and educators is an approach to reduce academic cheating. It prevents students who were caught during cheating from escaping punishment using excuses. (Rosamond, 2002, p. 167-174)

The code honors on college decrease academic cheating in college. O’Neill and Pfeiffer (2012) took a survey about cheating of 384 students from the University of Richmond (UR) and the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). The difference between these two universities in the U.S. is that UR has a complete and formal honor system so that students of UR are always reminded of academic honesty, while UNCW does not. Students were asked whether looking at others’ paper at the test, asking friends questions from the bring-home quiz, studying from older exams and asking other classmates for help are academic cheating. Finally, the researchers found that a great number of students of UR believe all of these behaviors are academic cheating (p. 231-245). The research by McCabe et al. (2001) emphasizes that the code honors on college influentially decrease academic cheating in that it improves students’ willingness to follow these rules and fairness to break school officials’ trust (p. 219-232).

In addition, high-tech methods are necessary to stop cheating. Journalist Young (2012) pointed out that because students are using new high-tech methods to cheat, professors should use high-tech methods to catch cheaters. Consequently, engineers should work together to develop anti-cheating software (p. 5). Meanwhile, Euchner (2009) noted that John Fontaine, who is work for Blackboard as senior director of technology evangelism, is trying to catch ghostwriters by finding their unique styles of writing. Besides, MIT considers combining fingerprint and face recognition into exams (p. 102). (words count: 2032)

All the discussions above mean to find the relationship between academic cheating and financial fraud under examining education policy. The cheating problem already influenced Chinese society a lot and brought bad results, such as shaking the public’s trust in China’s higher education. Moreover, this research finds that Chinese education policy is not effective at avoiding cheating. According to the increasing levels of academic misconduct in recent years, it shows that Chinese education policy has a lot of loopholes need educators and lawmakers to fix. Not only for college-going students, but also for primary students, we should cultivate the conscious of protecting intelligence property rights since students are young and strengthen the importance of honesty in university or even in high school. Meanwhile, completing education policy can also help to cultivate students’ sense of honesty, which can prevent them from financial fraud as well. And by using the fraud triangle, it supplies a way to stop students cheating, declining their pressure or cut down the opportunity they cheat. However, as the technology and social media develop so fast, if we do not stop it in time, if we do not have written policy to be explicitly stipulated, if we do not give serious punishment, academic cheating will only get worse and worse. Our policy should be more than just words, it needs to be implemented to control the deficiencies in education and need leadership to guide our education direction. Even though we still have a long way to solve this problem, this research is inspired some weaknesses of our education policy and indicates that we can deal with it by connecting parents’ influence, peers’ pressure, satisfaction, opportunity and social to make a more humanize and completion policy to reduce academic fraud. (word count: 290)

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The Relationship Between Academic Cheating and Financial Fraud. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved November 28, 2022 , from

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