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Nov 21, 2013 08:48 AM EST

Cheating College Students Prefer Government Jobs - Study

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College students who cheat on simple tasks are more likely to take up government jobs and add to the corruption in office, according to a Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania study.

"If people have the view that jobs in government are corrupt, people who are honest might not want to get into that system," said Rema Hanna, an associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Chicago Tribune Reports.

For the study, the experts conducted a series of experiments with more than 600 students from Indian colleges. In the first experiment, students were asked to roll a dice and self-report the number they got. Each student rolled the die 42 times. Researchers said that the higher the number they get, the more they would get paid.

Using their predictability methods, researchers said that getting 5s and 6s frequently is not possible. But more than a third of participants reported getting high numbers. They found that students who cheated were 6.3 percent more likely to want to take up a government job after graduation.

 "Overall, we find that dishonest individuals -- as measured by the dice task -- prefer to enter government service," wrote Hanna and coauthor Shing-yi Wang, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

"Importantly, we show that cheating on this task is also predictive of fraudulent behaviors by real government officials," they said.

Hanna said that the same test conducted on government nurses showed that those who cheated with the dice were also more likely to be absent from work.

In the second experiment, students were given a certain amount of money and were asked to donate some to their preferred charity. Researchers said that for each rupee they donate, the sum given to the charity would double.

They found that participants who had kept more money for themselves wanted a government job.

The finding has been released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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