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Rational choice or strain? A criminological examination of contract cheating

Nagy, V ORCID: 0000-0002-2041-1080 and Groves, A 2021 , 'Rational choice or strain? A criminological examination of contract cheating' , Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 33, no. 3 , pp. 322-339 , doi: 10.1080/10345329.2021.1874603.

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Contract cheating is a significant problem, both within and outsidethe academy. Responses have largely focused on punitiveconsequences for tertiary students, and in 2019 the AustralianFederal Government proposed legislation that would formallycriminalise contract cheating both for the buyer and the seller.Although contract cheating has the hallmarks of white-collarcrime, criminological examination of this form (and arguably allforms) of academic misconduct has been minimal. Utilising thefindings of Bretag, T., Harper, R., Burton, M., Ellis, C., Newton, P.,Saddiqui, S., & van Haeringen, K. (2019. Contract cheating: Asurvey of Australian university students. Studies in HigherEducation, 44(11), 1837–1856), where over 14,000 Australiantertiary students were surveyed, we examine contract cheatingthrough a criminological lens and discuss whether rational choicetheory (RCT) or general strain theory (GST) can contribute tounderstanding of its incidence and whether these theories offer away to respond to or prevent this behaviour in the future. Ourfindings suggest that neither theory offers a complete solutionand it is, in fact, a blend of RCT and GST that can help explainstudent contract cheating—what we term ‘strained rationality’.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Nagy, V and Groves, A
Keywords: contract cheating, academic misconduct, criminology, rational choice, theory, general strain theory
Journal or Publication Title: Current Issues in Criminal Justice
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1034-5329
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/10345329.2021.1874603
Copyright Information:

© 2021 Sydney Institute of Criminology

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