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In a web-based survey, we presented university students (n = 2,287) with vignettes in which they had to decide whether to abuse the position of student assistant for personal gain. Referring to the existing literature, we tested whether the emergence of corruption increases when benefits from corruption and the probability of the occurrence of those benefits rise and whether corruption decreases when costs and the probability of their occurrence increase. These four factors were varied within a factorial survey design. Moreover, social norms against corrupt practices were measured. We tested whether such norms reduce the willingness to commit these practices. Our study is the first to simultaneously scrutinize these influences of corruption in universities. The results suggest that students deliberate on the pros and cons of corrupt behaviour. Higher risks or costs of corrupt activities appear to be significant deterrents. Higher benefits or success probabilities increase the likelihood of engaging in corrupt activities. However, these factors are less important than the social norms against corruption. As a consequence, our results imply that curbing corruption by monitoring and sanctioning might be less effective than stimulating social norms against corruption or strengthening the validity of fairness norms.
Incentives and Inhibitors of Abusing Academic
Positions: Analysing University Students’
Decisions about Bribing Academic Staff
Peter Graeff
, Sebastian Sattler
*, Guido Mehlkop
and Carsten Sauer
Abstract: In a web-based survey, we presented university students (n¼2,287) with vignettes in which
they had to decide whether to abuse the position of student assistant for personal gain. Referring to
the existing literature, we tested whether the emergence of corruption increases when benefits from
corruption and the probability of the occurrence of those benefits rise and whether corruption
decreases when costs and the probability of their occurrence increase. These four factors were varied
within a factorial survey design. Moreover, social norms against corrupt practices were measured. We
tested whether such norms reduce the willingness to commit these practices. Our study is the first to
simultaneously scrutinize these influences of corruption in universities. The results suggest that students
deliberate on the pros and cons of corrupt behaviour. Higher risks or costs of corrupt activities appear
to be significant deterrents. Higher benefits or success probabilities increase the likelihood of engaging
in corrupt activities. However, these factors are less important than the social norms against corruption.
As a consequence, our results imply that curbing corruption by monitoring and sanctioning might be
less effective than stimulating social norms against corruption or strengthening the validity of fairness
The occurrence of corruption is a severe problem for
universities because it degrades the quality of education.
The accurate assessment of student performance is
important for both universities and society. Grades are
the most important indicator of students’ skills. Paying
bribe money for grades and thereby transgressing
university norms is a criminal offense and a serious
failure of universities and their staff. Fair grading is
crucial for the equality of educational opportunities and
student motivation to behave fairly. If students know
that they can purchase grades, their incentive to learn is
reduced (Heyneman, 2011). Furthermore, if information
about corruption within the university becomes public, a
loss of reputation is likely.
Heyneman, Anderson, and Nuraliyeva (2008) assumed
that corrupt practices can be more detrimental in the
educational field than in executive areas of the state
because negative effects for young people might emerge.
Learning that corruption can be a means to success
might be an imprint for students’ entire lives. Moreover,
students might transfer this experience to their future
work career. This consequence bears potential external-
ities, as students belong to a country’s forthcoming elite
(Heyneman, 2004). As a result, the degradation of
university students’ values system could lead to serious
future consequences (Bruhn et al., 2002; Andrei et al.,
2009). Eroded norms and ethical principles might not be
restored when the students join the work force.
Additionally, if corruption becomes pervasive within a
university, that institution is no longer contributing to
Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Institute of Social Science, 24118 Kiel, Germany;
University of Cologne, Institute
for Sociology and Social Psychology, 50939 Cologne, Germany;
Cologne Graduate School in Management,
Economics and Social Sciences, 50932 Cologne, Germany;
University of Erfurt, Faculty of Economics, Law and Social
Sciences, 99089 Erfurt, Germany and
Bielefeld University, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 882, 33615 Bielefeld,
*Corresponding author. Email:
P.G. and S.S. contributed equally to this work.
European Sociological Review VOLUME 30 NUMBER 2 2014 230–241 230
DOI:10.1093/esr/jct036, available online at
Online publication 13 December 2013
ßThe Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
For permissions, please e-mail: Submitted: September 2012; revised: September 2013; accepted: October 2013.
at DZM University Koeln on July 8, 2014 from
the selection of future leaders based on the university’s
standards of impartiality (Noah and Eckstein, 2001).
According to Heyneman, Anderson, and Nuraliyeva
(2008), this selection is the key task of these institutions.
They argued that no other institution could compensate
for such drawbacks. Additionally, if academic grades are
not awarded by individual effort and achievement, but
by simply paying for them, the allocation system is
undermined and no human capital or labour market
productivity is accumulated (idem (id.); Heyneman,
2009). As a consequence, important professional pos-
itions might be assigned to individuals who paid for an
unfairly obtained signal (certificate) to the labour market
rather than the most competent candidates. For example,
one might consider the devastating consequences if the
position of a surgeon is occupied by an incompetent
person who gained his professional position through
corruption (Rumyantseva, 2005). Employers run the risk
of hiring less-skilled staff in such a situation and must
devise selection mechanisms and means of protection
(Bardhan, 1997; Heyneman, 2009).
Academic cheating has become a topic of great interest
in social science research (Michaels and Miethe, 1989;
Cochran et al., 1999; Blankenship and Whitley, 2000;
Jordan, 2001; Vowell and Chen, 2004; Macfarlane, Zhang
and Pun, 2012), but corruption at colleges or universities
is seldom empirically investigated in the literature. Some
research has addressed prevalence rates, but few studies
have analysed the causes of corruption at the individual
In countries with rampant corruption, such as many
eastern European states and several Asian states, corrup-
tion occurs as often in universities as in other public
institutions (Heyneman, Anderson and Nuraliyeva,
2008). The inefficiency of the educational systems (e.g.
slowly working administrations) in these countries
provides opportunities for corruption (Temple and
Petrov, 2004). Bribes are often given to bypass bureau-
cratic procedures. A survey in several eastern European
countries revealed that 79–84 per cent of students ‘[...]
were aware of the practice of illegal bribes to gain
admission’ and that 28–36 per cent ‘thought that
admission test scores could be changed’ (Heyneman,
Anderson and Nuraliyeva, 2008). One out of every five
Bulgarian, Croatian, and Serbian students and two out of
every five Moldovan students reported the use of illegal
methods to obtain admission to their university (id.). A
survey of Kazakh students revealed that 7 per cent of the
teachers demanded gifts or bribes in 2001 (3.3 per cent
in 2005; id.). Of the surveyed Serbian students, 20–30
per cent reported bribing faculty for a grade (very)
frequently (id.). Andrei et al. (2009) analysed corruption
within Romanian universities (e.g. passing exams after
bribing academic staff). The prevalence rates found in
these East European countries and states of the former
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) might differ
from those in Western countries given the specific
conditions in the countries investigated (e.g. low or
erratically paid salaries in the academic field or poor
prospects after retiring from the university).
In a survey of English students, 2 per cent of the
respondents reported that they had attempted ‘to obtain
special consideration by offering or receiving favours
through, for example, bribery, seduction, corruption’
(Newstead, Franklyn-Stokes and Armstead, 1996). In the
same survey, 29 per cent of the participants also admitted
that they had ‘to mark each other’s work [the authors:
after exams] more generously than it merits’ when they
came ‘to an agreement with another student or students’.
The same behaviour occurred approximately twice as
often (65 per cent) in an earlier study (Franklyn-Stokes
and Newstead, 1995). Studies have also been conducted
on academic staff members who accepted or demanded a
corrupt offer. A study published in Nature revealed that
behaviour such as ‘relationships with students, research
subjects, or clients that may be interpreted as question-
able’, which might also include corruption, happens only
seldom (Martinson, Anderson and de Vries, 2005). Only
1.4 per cent of 3,247 surveyed scientists stated that they
had engaged in such behaviour. In a small randomized-
response survey among academic economists, 0.4 per cent
stated that they had at least once ‘accepted sex, money, or
gifts in exchange for grades’, and 4.3 per cent expected
that other faculty members in economics had done so
(List et al., 2001). These studies provide insight into the
prevalence rates of corruption but do not provide
theoretically based explanations for its occurrence.
This lack of research is surprising given the deleterious
consequences of corruption and the many opportunities
to behave corruptly in the educational field. For instance,
discretionary powers can be abused when academic
reviewers are in the position of certifying the results of
students or colleagues (Rumyantseva, 2005) or when
commission members or deans offer academic jobs
(Heyneman, 2004).
The current study investigates corruption by analysing
the acceptance of bribes in return for changing grades.
Bribery is a common form of corruption and comprises
a social exchange of payments and services (Morris,
2011) at the expense of other students, the university
management, or the professor. This scenario could occur
at universities or colleges. Professors often hire student
assistants to (pre-)correct exams, which provides oppor-
tunities to manipulate the exams or grading. Students
might understand this process and consider bribing the
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student assistant to avoid failing the exam or to obtain a
good grade.
In theory, such situations are typically described via a
three-actor model that captures the corrupt exchange
(Banfield, 1975; Eisenhardt, 1989; Graeff, 2005) as
follows: A principal (here, the professor) disposes
decisional leeway to an agent (here, the student assist-
ant). The agent abuses his/her position in favour of a
client (here, the student) to realize his/her and the
client’s gains against the principal’s rules.
Owing to the involvement of several actors and their
preferences, corruption becomes an interdependent behav-
iour. The principal and agent typically work in the same
organization and are beholden to the same organizational
rules. The principal represents the interests of the
organization or adheres to universal norms, whereas
the agent might be inclined to favour his/her (and his/
her client’s) private gains at the expense of the organiza-
tion. The agent and client must each consider the
behaviour of the other and trust each other concerning
the exchanged goods or services (e.g. bribe money and
grade change).
The present article focuses on the decision-making
process of the agent only, i.e. the student assistant who
sells better grades for money.
According to theoretical
discussions of the reasons for corruption, two major
factors may influence the decision-making process
related to committing a corrupt act: situational condi-
tions (i.e. bribe money and fines) and social norms (cf.
Klitgaard, 1988; Graeff, 2005; Lambsdorf, 2007; Rose-
Ackerman, 2010; Bicchieri and Muldoon, 2011). These
two factors are crucial in explanations of deviant
behaviour in the sociological literature (Kroneberg,
Heintze and Mehlkop, 2010; Mehlkop and Graeff,
2010; Tittle et al., 2010). The distinction between these
factors follows the idea of different goals that can be
pursued, such as increasing one’s own resources or
acting in a socially appropriate way (Lindenberg, 2011).
In this vein, Hechter and Opp posited (2001, p. 404)
that ‘evidently, when social scientists address normative
phenomena they focus on some combination of behav-
ioral regularities, oughtness, and punishment or reward.
[...] Behavior, punishment or reward, and oughtness
can be considered separately; only by doing so can their
mutual dependence be determined [...]. This will permit
researchers to disentangle the complex relations between
these elements, their causes, and their consequences
[...]’. Even if it is assumed that the student assistant is
not able to consider all relevant consequences (typically
denoted by the idea of bounded rationality, Simon,
1997), these parameters might play a role in decision-
making about whether to participate in a corrupt deal
(Roy and Singer, 2006). Therefore, these parameters are
included in our theoretical model.
Our study aims to determine the effects of both of the
above factors. The first factor pertains to the deliberation
on the characteristics of a corrupt situation. It can be
assumed that individuals who enter or create a corrupt
situation deliberate on the advantages (benefits) and
disadvantages (costs) and the probability of their
According to the corrupt promises between agent and
client, the student assistant (agent) expects something
from the bribing student (client) in return for abusing
his/her position. In the present study, the benefit to the
agent is the amount of payment he or she receives from
the client in return for the illegal action of changing the
grade. We expect the following:
H1a: Higher bribes increase the willingness to engage in
corrupt transactions.
Because the success of the corrupt transaction depends
on the agent and the client behaving as they promised in
the form of a chronologically staggered exchange of
goods, trust becomes an important element in the
decision-making process (Dasgupta, 1988; Coleman,
1990; Graeff, 2005). The specific trust of the agent
(that the client will pay after the agent changes the
grade) is concomitant with the probability of realizing
the benefits (success probability).
Therefore, we further
hypothesize the following:
H1b: The higher the agent’s trust in the client (which is
equivalent to a higher subjective success probability), the
higher the likelihood of willingness to engage in a
corrupt transaction.
Corruption also entails costs and risks that can have a
profound impact on an actor’s decision. The agent’s
abuse of his/her discretionary power might be detected.
Here, the extent of the monitoring activities of the
professor (principal) might be an important factor. The
agent might know the detection probability, invest
energy in assessing it, or simply guess. If the corrupt
deal is discovered, there might be costs in terms of
sanctions (e.g. a fine and/or other punishment).
In the
absence of a chance of getting caught, >60 per cent of
students in four East European countries would cheat
(Heyneman, Anderson and Nuraliyeva, 2008). This
finding indicates the importance of the deterrent effects
of sanctions. Based on this discussion, we postulate the
following components of hypothesis 1:
H1c: Higher sanctions decrease willingness to engage in
corrupt transactions.
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H1d: A higher detection probability leads to a decreased
willingness to engage in corrupt transactions.
The second factor is the normative dimension of
corruption. Corruption ‘[...] is behaviour which devi-
ates from the formal duties of a public role because of
private-regarding [...] pecuniary or status gains; or
violates rules against the exercise of certain types of
private-regarding influence’ (Nye, 1967, p. 419). If a
student assistant sells a grade, this action can be
considered as a violation of the principals’ regulations
and rules of conduct or as a norm deviation aimed at
augmenting private gain. Such behaviour clearly contra-
dicts university codes of conduct (Braxton and Bayer,
1999) and sound scientific practices (Macfarlane, Zhang
and Pun, 2012). In this scenario, norms of fairness are
transgressed. These norms might be informally enforced
by academic staff or fellow students. Corrupt behaviour,
therefore, is linked to normative considerations and
touches on society members’ shared expectations con-
cerning appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.
Therefore, the agent’s moral conscience comes into
play. It is assumed that agents who are considering a
corrupt action should have a feeling ‘that one ought not
to do so’ if they have internalized such normative
principles. The violation of normative principles can lead
to a bad conscience or feelings of guilt, which function
as psychological costs (Cochran et al., 1999; Posner and
Rasmusen, 1999; Opp, 2013). Heyneman, Anderson and
Nuraliyeva (2008) found that 20–35 per cent of the
surveyed students in Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova and
Serbia would feel bad after cheating and that 11–14 per
cent considered corrupt behaviour ‘unacceptable’. In
Franklyn-Stokes and Newstead’s (1995) study, 13 per
cent of the respondents reported that they had refrained
from offering favours because they perceived such
behaviour as immoral/dishonest, and 13 per cent
perceived such behaviour as unfair to other students.
Additionally, other studies on cheating, in general, or
plagiarism, in particular, found that moral beliefs were
associated with lower levels of misconduct (Diekhoff
et al., 1999; Sattler, Graeff and Willen, 2013). In line
with Detert, Sweitzer, and Trevino (2008) and
Heyneman (2009, 2011), we hypothesize the following:
H2: The weaker is agents’ oughtness of a social norm
(which can be interpreted as a form of ‘moral dis-
engagement’), the more likely they are to make unethical
and corrupt decisions.
The following analysis systematically tests the power of
the deliberation on incentives, such as bribe money, fines,
and their respective probabilities, and on social norms.
The present study explains corruption in universities, an
area that is lacking in existing research.
Participants and Survey Procedure
From January to March 2012, we conducted a web
survey among German university students to assess the
influences of situational components of the decision-
making process and social norms on corruption. We
used data from the third wave of the longitudinal
FAIRUSE study.
A total of 3,020 students received pre-
notification letters via post from their universities. These
letters provided information about the survey topics
(study conditions, learning strategies, satisfaction with
university, etc) and the participation procedure as well as
the voluntary nature and anonymity of the study.
Because we had no personal information (such as
addresses) on the students and because the universities
did not have access to the data, the full anonymity of the
respondents was preserved. A data security officer
monitored the adherence to data security. One week
after receiving the letters, students received an email
invitation that included a personal link to the question-
naire. Thereafter, up to two reminders were sent. We
also provided incentives for completers, with the aim of
attaining high participation rates and data quality
¨ritz, 2006). Students could choose between money
sent via postal mail or PayPal, a voucher for a well-
known online retailer, and donations to United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF) or Amnesty International (5
Euro each). Overall, 2,466 students (response rate ¼81.2
per cent) responded. Of these students, 2,308 (retention
rate ¼93.6 per cent) completed the survey. Owing to
item non-responses and dropouts, 2,287 cases were
considered in our analysis.
Dependent Variable
The students evaluated vignettes (Jasso, 2006; Wallander,
2009) that described a corrupt situation. After being
provided with the vignette text (see next section),
students were asked to place themselves in the position
of the student assistant (agent) and decide whether they
would accept the corruption offer of another student
(client), as described using the following question: ‘If
you were the assistant, would you change the grade?’
Answers were measured on a 10-point Likert scale that
ranged from ‘definitely not’ (coded as 0) to ‘definitely
yes’ (9). Similar measures of respondents’ willingness/
intention to engage in deviant behaviour (in academics)
after presenting a vignette (Nagin and Paternoster, 1993;
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Tibbetts and Myers, 1999; Rettinger, Jordan and
Peschiera, 2004) or without vignettes (Beck and Ajzen,
1991; Tittle et al., 2010) were successfully applied in
previous research.
Manipulation of Independent Variables
Using a Factorial Survey Design
We applied a factorial survey design and provided vignettes
with hypothetical corruption situations. Vignettes are a
useful tool for testing theoretical presumptions (Jasso,
2006). The factorial survey technique was used because it is
difficult to directly observe the behaviour under investiga-
tion when it occurs in secrecy, as corruption typically does.
In such a situation, vignettes are a research tool that allows
the collection of data on people’s decisions in a hypothet-
ical situation (Hastie and Dawes, 2001; Murdock and
Stephens, 2007). Evidently, the variation of vignettes is not
equivalent to the manipulation of features in the real
world. Vignettes are, however, as Rettinger and Kramer
(2009: p. 297) state, ‘a good substitute for similar
manipulations in the real world when the latter are not
possible’. Moreover, the inferences that students draw when
making decisions about whether to engage in corruption as
described in the vignette can be assumed to be rather
similar to those made in the real world. Therefore, this
technique might be useful for studying an individual’s
In the between-subjects design, each student was
randomly assigned to one vignette. The vignette
provided a story about a student assistant who has the
opportunity to change the grade of a fellow student in
exchange for bribe money. In the quasi-experiment, the
levels of the following four theoretically derived dimen-
sions were varied systematically (see Table 1 for a
description of the vignette): (i) the benefit B(the
amount of money received for changing the grade),
(ii) the probability qof obtaining the benefit (a function
of the briber’s trustworthiness), (iii) the costs Cif
detected (the fine), and (iv) the likelihood pof getting
caught (the probability that the supervising professor
(principal) reviews the grading of the student assistant
and detects the corrupt act). The vignette universe
consists of 500 vignette combinations (5
4). We added
25 (5 5) vignettes in which only qand Bvaried to
examine situations in which only benefits occur; thus,
the deterrence component of the decision was set to zero
(P¼0 and C¼0). This set-up implies that a positive
correlation exists between pand C. Owing to the
factorial setting, there was no correlation between
the other factors. In total, 525 vignettes were used, and
each vignette was evaluated by an average of four
Measuring Normative Beliefs
In addition to the vignettes, respondents were asked
about their normative beliefs related to the investigated
corrupt behaviour. The measures used here refer to the
concept of the oughtness of social norms.
This concept
is based on norm internalization and consists of three
elements, as follows: norm importance (NI) describes the
degree to which the norm is perceived as important;
Table 1 The vignette text and the variation of the decision parameters in the factorial survey design
Vignette text:
A student assistant is advised by his professor to pre-correct final exams and to recommend the grades. A student
who knows that she has failed the exams contacts him. She asks him whether he can review her exam in such a
way that she will pass it with a good grade. She offers to pay him ‘B’ Euro in return as soon as he changes the
According to his assessment of the students’ trustworthiness, she will give him the money with a ‘q’ per cent chance.
If the professor learns that the student assistant has changed the grade, it is reported to the authorities, and he has to
pay a fine of ‘C’ Euro.
The student assistant knows that it is the professor’s habit to check a ‘p’ per cent sample of all exams that were pre-
corrected by the student assistant.
Dimension Levels Coding
B-Benefits in Euro (bribe money) 25, 50, 150, 600, 3,000 25, 50, 150, 600, 3,000
q-Success probability (per cent 5, 25, 50, 75, 100 .05, .25, .5, .75, 1
C-Costs in Euro (fine) 0, 25, 50, 150, 600, 3,000 0, 25, 50, 150, 600, 3,000
p-Detection probability (per cent) 0, 5, 10, 20, 40 0, .05, .10, .20, .40
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norm obedience (NO) measures how strongly the
respondents feel obliged to follow the norm; norm
deviance (ND) represents the evaluation of transgressing
the norm of incorrupt behaviour. Table 2 provides an
overview of the operationalization.
Control Variables
The statistical models controlled for gender and age,
which might affect the willingness to engage in corrup-
tion. A few studies (Swamy et al., 2001) imply that
women are less involved in corruption than men owing
to the socialization of women or the different use of
negative social capital by men. Because the empirical
evidence of such studies refers to aggregated attitude
measures or macro-data (Alatas et al., 2009) and might
not be valid at the individual level, this suggestion
should be tested with a micro-data sample. Gender was
coded 0 for females and 1 for males. In the present
sample, 61.6 per cent of the participants were female.
We also controlled for age, as older students might be
more familiar with the proceedings in the educational
field (Andrei et al., 2009), and more extensive knowledge
of university processes could facilitate corrupt actions.
The median age group in the present sample was 22–23
The majority of participants (73.5 per cent; Mean ¼0.65;
SD ¼1.468) reported that they strongly oppose engaging
in corruption (see Figure 1). However, a share of
students was more or less willing to seize the oppor-
tunity and change the grade in exchange for bribe
money, as described in the vignette. Only 0.6 per cent
(scale points 8 and 9) had a relatively high tendency to
accept the offer.
Figure 2 provides an overview of how the willingness
to accept the corruption offer depends on the variations
across the vignette outcomes. An increase in the amount
of bribe money increased the willingness to accept
the offer (Panel A). An increased probability of
receiving the money after changing the grade also had
a positive impact (Panel C). Higher fines (Panel B) in
the case of detection and an increase in the detection
probability (Panel D) decreased the willingness. Bivariate
analysis of variance indicated that all relationships
(vignette levels) were significantly different from zero
(P< 0.001).
These results are in line with hypotheses
H1a to H1d.
Table 2 Operationalization of three elements of the ‘oughtness’ of a social norm and descriptive results
Element of
the oughtness
of a social
Questions Answer options Mean SD
NI If you were in the position of a student
assistant, how important is it for you to
make true proposals for grades due to
moral reasoning?
1¼not important at all,
7¼very important
6.22 1.499
NO Is this statement true for you? As student
assistant, I should make correct proposals
for grades in all circumstances.
1¼never, 7 ¼always 6.52 0.909
ND How do you evaluate changing proposals for
grades bought for money? I consider this
to be ...
1¼not objectionable at all,
7¼very objectionable
6.45 1.355
5.4 2.3 2.1 1.9 1.4 0.5 0.3 0.3
Percentage of respondents
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Willingness t o change a grade in exchange for bribe money
Figure 1 Distribution of the willingness to change a grade
in exchange for bribe money (n¼2,287)
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In the next step, nested ordinary least squares (OLS)
regression models were estimated to simultaneously test
the impacts of all factors on the willingness to accept the
corruption offer. Model 1 in Table 3 shows that all four
experimentally varied decision parameters showed the
expected sign. Higher benefits (P< 0.001) and higher
probabilities of attaining those benefits (P< 0.001)
significantly increased the willingness to enter into a
corrupt exchange. Increasing costs (P< 0.005) and an
increasing detection probability (P< 0.001) both
decreased this willingness. In Model 2, the control
variables of sex and age were added. Age (P< 0.617) had
no effect, whereas men were more prone to engage in
corruption (P< 0.002).
Adding the norm variables to the model (see Model 3)
led to a remarkable increase in explained variance.
Norms were stronger predictors in the corruption
situation of the current vignette than were benefits,
costs, and their respective probabilities. However, only
two norm variables reached significance, which partially
confirms H2. NI was not significant (P< 0.181), but NO
(P< 0.001) and deviance (P< 0.001) demonstrated sig-
nificance. A comparison of the standardized coefficients
revealed much stronger effects of NO and deviance
relative to any other variable. The significant gender
effect vanished after including norms into the equation
(P< 0.299). This result suggests that the significant
gender effect in the current sample was a spurious
reflection of norms.
We also tested for interaction effects between the
situational variables and norms (not reported here, but
available on request), as there is some evidence for such
interaction effects in the empirical modelling of deviant
behaviour (Mehlkop and Graeff, 2010; Kroneberg,
Heintze and Mehlkop, 2010). However, no significant
interaction effects could be found, with one exception:
NO and detection probability interacted positively
(P< 0.044). Owing to the singularity of the result, we
do not discuss it in detail here.
There is a body of literature that addresses academic
dishonesty among students (for an overview, see
Diekhoff et al., 1999; Whitley, 1998; McCabe,
Trevinoand Butterfield, 2001; Murdock and Stephens,
2007). Our study contributes to this literature by
focusing on corruption among students—a seldom-
scrutinized type of academic dishonesty. This form of
deviant behaviour can only occur if there is a position
that can be abused by an agent to favour a client.
25 50 150 600 3000
Benefits [Euro]
25 50 150 600 3000
Costs [Euro]
525 50 75 100
Success probability [%]
0 5 10 20 40
Detection probability [%]
Figure 2 Mean willingness to change a grade in exchange for bribe money on a 10-point scale with the anchors 0: ‘definitely
not’ and 9: ‘definitely yes’ in relation to the amount of bribe money (Panel A), the probability of receiving the benefits after
changing the grade (C), the fine if the grade change was detected (B), and the detection probability (D). The error bars indicate
the standard errors of the mean (SEM; n¼2,287)
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Because there are many positions in academic fields that
provide opportunities to behave in a corrupt manner, it
can be assumed that corruption occurs at colleges and
universities. The present findings support this assump-
tion. However, only some students were strongly willing
to engage in corruption.
The major aim of this study was to analyse why
students engage in corrupt situations in universities. By
clarifying this behaviour, the current work may help to
reveal influences that may also explain corruption in
other life domains, as we assume that we have referred to
a general model of corrupt behaviour. We employed a
factorial survey design with vignettes within a web survey
among a large random sample of university students.
The results showed that increasing benefits in terms of
offering more bribe money and increasing the probabil-
ity of receiving this money led to significantly greater
willingness to behave corruptly, confirming H1a and
H1b. In line with H1c and H1d, increasing the costs of
corruption in terms of higher fines and a higher
probability of being detected decreased this willingness.
These variables presented as strong predictors of deviant
behaviour in previous studies as well (among others, see
Gibbs, 1975; Nagin and Pogarsky, 2001; Bushway and
Reuter, 2008; Sattler, Graeff and Willen, 2013; for mixed
evidence, see McCarthy and Hagan, 2005; Mehlkop and
Graeff, 2010). Our findings are also in line with the
results of studies that showed that poor economic
conditions might lead to corruption, such as the earlier
mentioned studies in East Europe and the former USSR
(Andrei et al., 2009).
In the present study, the three dimensions of the
‘oughtness’ of social norms concerning corruption
exhibited different strengths in explaining corrupt deci-
sions. Although no effect was found for the degree to
which people assessed the normative regulation as
important (contradicting H2), NO and deviance were
highly important (confirming H2). The more strongly
respondents felt obliged to follow the norm of incorrupt
behaviour and the more they disapproved of transgress-
ing such norms, the less willing they were to behave
corruptly. The present results are in line with previous
studies that found similar effects of internalized norms
(Grasmick and Bursik, 1990; Nagin and Paternoster,
1993; Tibbetts and Myers, 1999; Tittle et al., 2010;
Sattler, Graeff and Willen, 2013).
Referring to rational
choice theory, these effects can be explained in terms of
different costs or sanctions (Posner and Rasmusen,
1999). For example, the internalization of norms can
lead to the anticipation of shame, which is a ‘form of
potentially self-imposed, or reflective punishment’
(Grasmick and Bursik, 1990).
According to our results,
the oughtness of a social norm is more important in
decision-making than deliberations about the situational
factors, i.e. bribe money and fines or their respective
probabilities. No effects were found for the control
variables of gender and age.
One may expect that situational conditions and norm
predispositions can reinforce or prohibit each other in
their impact on the decision to become corrupt. One
may propose, for instance, that people with low NO are
more strongly affected by high incentives than others.
Such types of hypotheses imply interactions between the
situational decision parameters (e.g. the amount of bribe
Table 3 OLS Regression models (using Huber–White
corrections) to explain the willingness to change a
grade in exchange for bribe money (standardized
coefficients, t-values in parentheses)
Predictors Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
probability (q)
0.079*** 0.078*** 0.078***
(3.88) (3.83) (4.20)
Benefits (B) 0.116*** 0.113*** 0.106***
(4.91) (4.80) (4.87)
probability (p)
0.093*** 0.093*** 0.089***
(4.68) (4.66) (4.74)
Costs (C) 0.054** 0.053** 0.050**
(2.84) (2.78) (2.80)
Sex (0 ¼female,
0.066** 0.020
(3.09) (1.04)
Age 0.011 0.004
(0.50) (0.19)
NI 0.025
NO 0.305***
ND 0.189***
Intercept (B-value) 0.549*** 0.519*** 5.201***
(8.67) (4.94) (13.49)
N 2,287 2,287 2,287
Adjusted R-squared 0.031 0.035 0.206
F17.18 12.80 27.76
Probability > F0.000 0.000 0.000
Test of predictors Block 1 Block 2 Block 3
R-squared 0.033 0.037 0.209
Change in R-squared 0.004 0.171
F 17.18 4.56 56.05
Block df 4 2 3
Probability > F0.000 0.011 0.000
*P < 0.05, **P < 0.01, ***P < 0.001.
Note: ‘a’ Due to the skewness of the dependent variable, all models were
replicated using negative binomial regression. Because all results were equal
in regard to substantive effects, OLS results are presented, which are easier
to interpret.
at DZM University Koeln on July 8, 2014 from
money) and the norm variables. However, only a single
interaction between norm variables and any of the other
decision parameters was found in the present study.
This study has several limitations. First, we investi-
gated corruption using a factorial survey rather than by
observing decisions in real situations. However, this
approach has several improvements to simple survey
techniques without experimental settings, such as the
reduction of socially desired responding (Alexander and
Becker, 1978; Choong, Ho and McDonald, 2002; Wason
et al., 2002). Second, there are multiple possibilities for
creating levels of vignette dimensions. Different vignette
set-ups might result in different results. We attempted to
construct a realistic vignette set-up that was guided by
theoretical reasoning and numerous discussions with
colleagues. The range for the amount of bribe money
and the fine were based on the consideration that
students were able to earn 10 Euro per hour in typical
student jobs. The maximum of 3,000 Euro is, therefore,
equal to 300 working hours. The success probability
ranged from a very low chance (5 per cent) to the
theoretical maximum (100 per cent). Values <5 per cent
might be unrealistic. We limited the detection probabil-
ity to 40 per cent because it was assumed that values >40
per cent might lead to immediate refusals of the
corruption opportunity. Further studies should investi-
gate other set-ups, but the replication of our results
might also produce insightful clues regarding the theory
and methods of corruption research.
The present study may help to develop strategies to
fight corruption, which should be a task of the whole
educational system, but particularly of the specific
university or college. First and foremost, all strategies
for improving the internalization of compliance norms
(e.g. by statements of honesty), university ‘courts’, or
honour codes should be at the top of the list
(Heyneman, 2011). These strategies are not prevalent
in all universities, but they can help to prevent corrup-
tion. If these strategies promote norm internalization,
the adherence to an internalized norm provides an
internal reward, whereas violations lead to psychological
costs (Coleman, 1990).
With regard to the situational parameters for decisions
about corruption (such as bribe money and fines), it
might be advisable to focus on mechanisms of detection
at both the student and the teacher levels. These
mechanisms are typically found to be a crucial factor
in preventing crimes in general (Becker, 1968; Gibbs,
1975; Nagin and Pogarsky, 2001; Dahlba
¨ck, 2003;
Bushway and Reuter, 2008).
Although the present results were consistent and
matched the theoretical expectations, future research is
needed. One specific demand results from the fact that
the study investigated the decision of a hypothetical
agent but did not focus on the client or the principal.
Additionally, a scenario involving a corrupt network was
not analysed. Future research could broaden the under-
standing of corruption in universities by investigating
the incentives and inhibitors of other positions in
corruption situations. This study was, however, a first
attempt to approach this topic and, therefore, addressed
a clear-cut situation. The results suggest that future
research with similar experimental settings could prom-
ise interesting outcomes.
1Other types of corruption in the educational field
are described in Heyneman, Anderson, and
Nuraliyeva (2008) and Heyneman (2009).
2Strategic games were not investigated here. Such
settings have been analysed in laboratory experi-
ments (Abbink, 2006).
3By only focusing on the agent’s decision, we do not
investigate the strategic problem of trust between
the agent and the client (such as mentioned in
Graeff, 2005). In the current vignettes, the respond-
ents (agents) learned the success probabilities in
terms of the client’s trustworthiness (see Methods
section). Thus, the respondents did not assess their
levels of trust in the client. There are other ways
to model trust as a decisional factor. A rather
prominent approach is to provide the agent with a
first-mover advantage in which he/she receives the
bribe money first and can decide whether to change
the grade or not (cf. Abbink, 2006).
4We do not analyse a situation in which corruption
partners abuse their position to blackmail the other
5For the initial sample of this study, a three-stage
random selection procedure was used. Therefore,
four German universities were selected. Within the
universities, 175 students were sampled from 14
randomly drawn disciplines with n
>175 and
300 students from all other disciplines with n
<175. This resulted in 11,000 eligible participants
(2,750 per university) from 138 academic
6After conducting our survey, we found that a paper
to which we referred concerning the oughtness
measure (Lindenberg, Joly and Stapel, 2011) had
at DZM University Koeln on July 8, 2014 from
been retracted. There is evidence that Stapel, the
third author, manipulated the data presented in the
paper. His co-authors had no knowledge of Staple’s
manipulation. The operationalization of the ought-
ness of social norms used in the current study was
guided by the paper of Lindenberg et al. We assume
that the soundness of the theoretical concept is not
affected by the manipulated data. Moreover, the
current operationalization of oughtness is in line
with the notion of norms provided, e.g. by Hechter
and Opp (2001). However, future research is needed
to validate the measure. The paper by Wiegel et al.
(2013) is one example that shows that the concept
of the ‘oughtness’ of social norms holds predictive
validity. Our paper is another such example.
7Results are available on request.
8One anonymous reviewer has provided an interest-
ing argument on this point: the probability of being
caught depends on the professor’s efforts to monitor
the student assistant’s behaviour (see Tsebelis, 1990
for the argument in general). In our article, we were
interested in how this probability alters the re-
spondent’s decision. By varying the probability of
being caught, the design implicitly reflects the fact
that principals must make a decision about how
much time and effort to allocate to detecting
cheaters. As only the agent’s decision is investigated
in the current vignette, the principals’ monitor-
ing effort is exogenously given. However, the
corruption situation can also be modelled using a
game-theoretic approach in which the professor’s
effort is affected by the past and by the expected
prospective behaviour of the student assistant.
However, this analysis is beyond the article’s scope
and should be taken into consideration in future
9Some studies did not find such effects or found
mixed evidence for internalized norms, i.e. Beck and
Ajzen (1991).
10 In cases in which the student assistant and the
student offering bribe money are in a close
relationship (such as friends or relatives), one
might assume that the student assistant might feel
obliged to help the student by changing her grade.
Then, the student assistant could find himself in a
dilemma, in which he must obey the professors’
orders and meet the expectations of his fellow
students. To avoid the influence of such
relationships, the vignette was formulated in neutral
language without mentioning any relationship
between the student assistant and the student.
However, the influence of close relationships on
corruption should be investigated in future research.
All authors contributed to, read, and approved the
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
[grant number 01PH08024 to S.S.] and the Rectorate
Scholarship of Bielefeld University [grant number
3521.01 to S.S.]. The funding agencies influenced neither
the aims of the study nor the interpretation of the
results. The views expressed here do not necessarily
reflect the policies of the funders. We are fully liable for
the integrity of the data and the correctness of the data
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... Exploring benefits of crime in the choice process: While motivation is seen as relevant for crime in SAT, most applications of the theory neglect to consider that the likelihood of criminal conduct should rise with increasing benefits (i.e., the loot)-an assumption also proposed by narrow Rational Choice Theory of Crime (Becker 1968;Erling 1997). Further SAT testing may also benefit from including this factor in the deliberation process, for which the relevance of such instrumental incentives to crime is also empirically supported (Graeff et al., 2014;Kroneberg et al. 2010; for meta-analysis: Pratt et al., 2006). We therefore plan to incorporate the benefits of crime in our analysis. ...
... A core assumption of this latter theory is that tangible and instrumental incentives, like monetary gains, explain crime. This assumption has been supported by various studies (Graeff et al., 2014;Kroneberg et al., 2010; for meta-analysis: Pratt et al., 2006). However, from the standpoint of SAT such instrumental incentives might be relatively less important within the choice process (also due to the limited cognitive capacity of individuals) as anticipated feelings like shame also influence the rational deliberation, so that these choices may neither be fully rational nor fully automated (Hardie 2021;Treiber 2017). ...
... Vignettes provide short descriptions of hypothetical situations that are experimentally varied. Vignette studies are a useful tool because, as with many other behaviors that happen in secret, a direct observation of crime is difficult and experimental manipulations in the "real world" are practically and ethically challenging (Graeff et al., 2014;Rettinger and Kramer 2009). Vignette studies also have the advantage of high response consistency levels and low levels of socially desired responding (Alexander and Becker 1978;Sauer et al., 2011;Wason et al. 2002). ...
Criminal action, according to Situational Action Theory (SAT), is a two-stage process consisting of a perception and a choice process. This Germany-wide vignette study (N = 3,088, participants recruited offline) provides an explicit and extensive test of these processes. It experimentally varied the informal moral context, deterrence (sanctions and detection risk), and possible gains of selling prescription drugs illegally in a 2x2x2×2 between-subject design. Personal morality and self-control were measured. Double-hurdle models show that personal morality served as a filter for the perception of criminal alternatives. Law-conforming moral context information, high self-control, and deterrence lowered the crime willingness. Thereby, this study underlines the usefulness of an explicit modeling of the dual-process of criminal conduct, in which certain antecedents only play a role in a certain process. While several findings corroborate assumptions from SAT, an influence of the informal moral context was only found in the choice process, not in the perception process.
... The advantage of the survey experiments using vignettes is that they provide higher internal validity (due to the orthogonal design and the controlled setting) than classical surveys and also higher external validity (due to a large, diversified sample) than many lab experiments. Vignettes are useful to study stigmatization because they can be a defendable substitute for ethically and practically challenging real world manipulations [50,51] and reduce social desirability bias [52,53]. Studies have also shown that the effects estimated with vignette designs remarkably matched the effects found in other research designs [54,55]. ...
Full-text available
Background The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global health crisis, leading to stigmatization and discriminatory behaviors against people who have contracted or are suspected of having contracted the virus. Yet the causes of stigmatization in the context of COVID-19 remain only partially understood. Using attribution theory, we examine to what extent attributes of a fictitious person affect the formation of stigmatizing attitudes towards this person, and whether suspected COVID-19 infection (vs. flu) intensifies such attitudes. We also use the familiarity hypothesis to explore whether familiarity with COVID-19 reduces stigma and whether it moderates the effect of a COVID-19 infection on stigmatization. Methods We conducted a multifactorial vignette survey experiment (2⁸-design, i.e., NVignettes = 256) in Germany (NRespondents = 4,059) in which we experimentally varied signals and signaling events (i.e., information that may trigger stigma) concerning a fictitious person in the context of COVID-19. We assessed respondents’ cognitive (e.g., blameworthiness) and affective (e.g., anger) responses as well as their discriminatory inclinations (e.g., avoidance) towards the character. Furthermore, we measured different indicators of respondents’ familiarity with COVID-19. Results Results revealed higher levels of stigma towards people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 versus a regular flu. In addition, stigma was higher towards those who were considered responsible for their infection due to irresponsible behavior. Knowing someone who died from a COVID infection increased stigma. While higher self-reported knowledge about COVID-19 was associated with more stigma, higher factual knowledge was associated with less. Conclusion Attribution theory and to a lesser extent the familiarity hypothesis can help better understand stigma in the context of COVID-19. This study provides insights about who is at risk of stigmatization and stigmatizing others in this context. It thereby allows identifying the groups that require more support in accessing healthcare services and suggests that basic, factually oriented public health interventions would be promising for reducing stigma.
... In such experiments, respondents are provided with short hypothetical scenarios, so-called vignettes that are experimentally varied. Vignette designs are useful when it is difficult to directly observe the investigated behavior or attitude and when it is impossible or ethically challenging to create experimental conditions in the real world (Graeff et al., 2014). They have the further advantages of offering high levels of response consistency in acceptable survey time (Sauer et al., 2011) and examining sensitive topics (such as stigmatizing attitudes) in a controlled way (Aguinis and Bradley, 2014). ...
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As brain-computer interfaces are promoted as assistive devices, some researchers worry that this promise to "restore" individuals worsens stigma toward disabled people and fosters unrealistic expectations. In three web-based survey experiments with vignettes, we tested how refusing a brain-computer interface in the context of disability affects cognitive (blame), emotional (anger), and behavioral (coercion) stigmatizing attitudes (Experiment 1, N = 222) and whether the effect of a refusal is affected by the level of brain-computer interface functioning (Experiment 2, N = 620) or the risk of malfunctioning (Experiment 3, N = 620). We found that refusing a brain-computer interface increased blame and anger, while brain-computer interface functioning did change the effect of a refusal. Higher risks of device malfunctioning partially reduced stigmatizing attitudes and moderated the effect of refusal. This suggests that information about disabled people who refuse a technology can increase stigma toward them. This finding has serious implications for brain-computer interface regulation, media coverage, and the prevention of ableism.
... Vignettes are short descriptions of hypothetical and experimentally varied situations. They are useful when manipulations in the "real world" are challenging due to ethical or practical reasons (Rettinger and Kramer, 2009;Graeff et al., 2014). Moreover, vignettes can reduce socially desired responding (Alexander and Becker, 1978;Wason et al., 2002;Sauer et al., 2011). ...
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Introduction Moral judgment is of critical importance in the work context because of its implicit or explicit omnipresence in a wide range of work-place practices. The moral aspects of actual behaviors, intentions, and consequences represent areas of deep preoccupation, as exemplified in current corporate social responsibility programs, yet there remain ongoing debates on the best understanding of how such aspects of morality (behaviors, intentions, and consequences) interact. The ADC Model of moral judgment integrates the theoretical insights of three major moral theories (virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism) into a single model, which explains how moral judgment occurs in parallel evaluation processes of three different components: the character of a person (Agent-component); their actions (Deed-component); and the consequences brought about in the situation (Consequences-component). The model offers the possibility of overcoming difficulties encountered by single or dual-component theories. Methods We designed a 2 × 2 × 2-between-subjects design vignette experiment with a Germany-wide sample of employed respondents ( N = 1,349) to test this model. Results Results showed that the Deed-component affects willingness to cooperate in the work context, which is mediated via moral judgments. These effects also varied depending on the levels of the Agent- and Consequences-component. Discussion Thereby, the results exemplify the usefulness of the ADC Model in the work context by showing how the distinct components of morality affect moral judgment.
... We employed factorial survey designs with vignettes in which descriptions of hypothetical situations were experimentally varied. This is useful when "real world" manipulations are ethically or practically challenging [52,53]. Such factorial surveys combine the advantages of experiments (e.g., high internal validity) with those of survey research (e.g., high external validity due to more reliable samples) [54][55][56]. ...
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This study contributes to the emerging literature on public perceptions of neurotechnological devices (NTDs) in their medical and non-medical applications, depending on their invasiveness, framing effects, and interindividual differences related to personal needs and values. We conducted two web-based between-subject experiments (2×2×2) using a representative, nation-wide sample of the adult population in Germany. Using vignettes describing how two NTDs, brain stimulation devices (BSDs; N Experiment 1 = 1,090) and brain-computer interfaces (BCIs; N Experiment 2 = 1,089), function, we randomly varied the purpose (treatment vs. enhancement) and invasiveness (noninvasive vs. invasive) of the NTD , and assessed framing effects (variable order of assessing moral acceptability first vs. willingness to use first). We found a moderate moral acceptance and willingness to use BSDs and BCIs. Respondents preferred treatment over enhancement purposes and noninvasive over invasive devices. We also found a framing effect and explored the role of personal characteristics as indicators of personal needs and values (e.g., stress, religiosity, and gender). Our results suggest that the future demand for BSDs or BCIs may depend on the purpose, invasiveness, and personal needs and values. These insights can inform technology developers about the public’s needs and concerns, and enrich legal and ethical debates.
... Darüber hinaus wurden verschiedene Determinanten berufsbedingter regionaler Mobilität von Akademiker*innen mithilfe experimentell variierter akademischer Stellenangebote beleuchtet (Auspurg & Schönholzer, 2013;Petzold, 2020b). Einige surveyexperimentelle Anwendungen befassen sich auch mit deviantem Verhalten im Hochschulkontext, wie etwa der Bestechlichkeit von studentischen Hilfskräften zur eigenen Vorteilsnahme (Graeff et al., 2014) oder dem Konsum bewusstseinserweiternder Drogen zur Steigerung der akademischen Produktivität (Sattler et al., 2013). ...
Der Beitrag illustriert Konstruktionsprinzipien, Potenziale und Fallstricke von Vignettenexperimenten anhand eines faktoriellen Surveyexperiments zur Bedeutung soziodemografischer und meritokratischer Merkmale beim Zugang zur Professur. Im Rahmen des Surveyexperiments wurden alle Universitätsprofessor*innen der Germanistik, Soziologie, Politikwissenschaft, Geographie und Chemie in Deutschland eingeladen, Vignettenprofile hypothetischer Wissenschaftler*innen auf ihre Eignung für unbefristete Professuren hin zu beurteilen. Anhand dieser Beispielanwendung veranschaulicht der Beitrag die Möglichkeiten und Grenzen von Vignettenexperimenten mit Blick auf die Validität der erzielten Ergebnisse. Zudem werden bisherige und zukünftige Anwendungsmöglichkeiten von Vignettenexperimenten in der Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung diskutiert.
... The appeal of this approach lies in the combination of causal effect identification through the experimental design with the stronger external validity of survey research when using large, representative samples (Jasso, 2006;Atzmüller and Steiner, 2010;Aguinis and Bradley, 2014;Dülmer, 2016). Moreover, such a design is appropriate, when experimental manipulations are difficult, perhaps impossible (Rettinger and Kramer, 2009), ethically questionable (Graeff et al., 2014) or when respondents are to be questioned about sensitive topics (Aguinis and Bradley, 2014). In this context one might also argue that artificial variation in a case description might not reflect the outcomes of manipulation in a real-world experiment. ...
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The literature on the social legitimacy of welfare benefits has shown that sick persons are perceived more deserving than unemployed individuals. However, these studies examine sick and unemployed persons as distinct groups, while unemployment and sickness are in fact strongly related. Policymakers across Europe have been increasingly concerned with discouraging a medicalization of unemployment and activating sick unemployed persons. Therefore, it is crucial to understand welfare attitudes toward this group. Using a factorial survey fielded with a representative sample of German-speaking adults (N=2,621), we investigate how sickness affects attitudes toward a hypothetical unemployed person on three dimensions: benefit levels, conditions, and sanctions. Respondents allocated similar benefit levels to unemployed persons regardless of whether they have an illness. Yet, they were more hesitant to apply existing conditions (e.g., active job search, job training) or sanction benefits when the unemployed person was also sick. This is except for conditions that tie benefits to obligatory health services (back training or psychological counseling) which was supported by the majority of respondents. Our research shows that the German public is not more generous and only partially more lenient toward sick unemployed persons as there is strong support for conditions targeted at overcoming ill health for this group. The findings underscore that sickness matters for how unemployed persons are perceived, but the impact varies across different dimensions of welfare attitudes.
... This experimental design lends credit to the causal interpretation of the findings. Moreover, vignette studies are suitable for investigating attitudes and behavior that are difficult to observe or manipulate in the real world (67, 97,98). Another feature of vignette studies is to offer low levels of socially desired responding (68,69,99), which is advantageous when investigating stigmatization (that may cause such responding as well as item non-response). ...
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Drug abuse and addiction exist around the world. People addicted to drugs such as opium or heroin often encounter dehumanizing discriminatory behaviors and health-care systems that are reluctant to provide services. Experiencing discrimination often serves as a barrier to receiving help or finding a home or work. Therefore, it is important to better understand the mechanisms that lead to the stigmatization of drug addiction and who is more prone to stigmatizing behaviors. There is also a dearth of research on whether different patterns of stigma exist in men and women. Therefore, this study investigated factors affecting gender-specific stigmatization in the context of drug addiction. In our vignette study (N Mensample = 320 and N Womensample = 320) in Iran, we experimentally varied signals and signaling events regarding a person with drug addiction (i.e., N Vignettes = 32 per sample), based on Attribution Theory, before assessing stigmatizing cognitions (e.g., blameworthiness), affective responses (e.g., anger), and discriminatory inclinations (e.g., segregation) with the Attribution Questionnaire. We also tested assumptions from the Familiarity Hypothesis by assessing indicators of respondents' familiarity with drug addiction (e.g., knowledge about addiction). Results, for example, show higher stigma if the person used "harder" drugs, displayed aggressive behavior, or had a less controllable drug urge. Self-attributed knowledge about addiction or prior drug use increased some forms of stigma, but diminished others. These findings only partially converged between men and women. We suggest that anti-stigma initiatives should consider information about the stigmatized person, conditions of the addiction, and characteristics of stigmatizers.
Die durch die COVID-19-Pandemie veränderten Lebensumstände haben einen Einfluss auf die Entstehungs- und Durchführungsbedingungen von Korruption. Es wurden neue Gelegenheitsstrukturen geschaffen, gleichzeitig aber nicht die Mechanismen und Abläufe außer Kraft gesetzt, die Korruption hemmen oder fördern. Diese Pandemie bringt Schwächen in der Korruptionsbekämpfung zutage, die prinzipiell auch bei anderen Katastrophen (oder exogenen Schocks) auftreten können, und vermittelt damit Lehren für die Zukunft. Insbesondere zeigen ihre Konsequenzen für das soziale Phänomen der Korruption, dass gleichzeitig ablaufende gesellschaftliche Entwicklungen (wie die Digitalisierung) weiter verstärkende (oder senkende) Kräfte sind.
Corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal offense undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one's private gain. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries. Political corruption occurs when an officeholder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. Corruption is most commonplace in kleptocracies, oligarchies, narco-states, and mafia states. Corruption can occur on different scales. Corruption ranges from small favors between a small number of people (petty corruption) to corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption) and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime.
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Background: Working conditions of academic staff have become increasingly complex and occupational exposure has risen. This study investigates whether work-related stress is associated with the use of prescription drugs for cognitive enhancement (CE). Methods: The study was designed around three web-based surveys (n1 = 1131; n2 = 936; n3 = 906) to which university teachers at four German universities were asked to respond. It assessed past CE-drug use and the willingness to use CE-drugs as factors influencing future use. Overlap among participants across the surveys allowed for analyses of stability of the results across time. Results: Our study suggests a currently very low prevalence of CE-drug use as well as a low willingness to use such drugs. The results showed a strong association between perceptions of work-related stress and all measures of CE-drug use (when controlling for potential confounding factors). They also showed that past use of CE-drugs increased participants' willingness to use them again in the future, as did lower levels of social support. Two different measures showed that participants' moral qualms against the use of CE-drugs decreased their probability of using them. Conclusions: The results increase our knowledge about the prevalence of CE-drug use and our understanding of what motivates and inhibits the use of CE-drug.
This study investigated the relations of cheating on an exam and using a false excuse to avoid taking an exam as scheduled to various forms of minor deviance. College students completed measures of cheating, false excuse making, and minor deviance. A factor analysis identified clusters of deviance behaviors. Cheaters scored higher than noncheaters on measures of unreliability and risky driving behaviors, and false excuse makers scored higher than other students on measures of substance use, risky driving, illegal behaviors, and personal unreliability. In addition, men scored higher than women on substance abuse and illegal behaviors factors. Results are interpreted in terms of personological theories of honesty and reliability.
Cheaters and noncheaters were assessed on 2 types of motivation (mastery and extrinsic), on perceived social norms regarding cheating, on attitudes about cheating, and on knowledge of institutional policy regarding cheating behavior. All 5 factors were significant predictors of cheating rates. In addition, cheaters were found lower in mastery motivation and higher in extrinsic motivation in courses in which they cheated than in courses in which they did not cheat. Cheaters, in courses in which they cheated, were also lower in mastery motivation and higher in extrinsic motivation than were noncheaters. Finally, cheaters differed from noncheaters on perceived social norms regarding cheating, on their knowledge of institutional policy regarding cheating, and on their attitudes toward cheating. Implications of these findings for institutional interventions are discussed.