Cheating Students More Likely to Want Government Jobs, Study Finds

Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2013

College students who cheated on a simple task were more likely to want government jobs, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania found in a study of hundreds of students in Bangalore, India.

Their results, recently released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggest that one of the contributing forces behind government corruption could be who gets into government work in the first place.

For instance, “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. To combat that problem, governments may need to find new ways to screen people seeking jobs, she said.

Researchers ran a series of experiments with more than 600 students finishing up college in India. In one task, students had to privately roll a die and report what number they got. The higher the number, the more they would get paid. Each student rolled the die 42 times.

Although researchers do not know for sure if any one student lied, they could tell whether the numbers each person reported were wildly different than what would turn up randomly–in other words, whether there were a suspiciously high number of 5s and 6s in their results.

Cheating seemed to be rampant: More than a third of students had scores that fell in the top 1% of the predicted distribution, researchers found. Students who apparently cheated were 6.3% more likely to say they wanted to work in government, the researchers found.

“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.

They added, “Importantly, we show that cheating on this task is also predictive of fraudulent behaviors by real government officials.”


Complaints of corruption have stirred up past scandals in India, which ranked 94th out of 176 countries and territories in perceived corruption, according to a Transparency International index. {snip}

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  • India. There’s your clue, Sherlock.

    Really, are the private sector Desis really much better?

    • Sick of it

      It’s the same in America and the private sector is corrupt for the same reason – Bloated government. Corrupt government officials have a hand in EVERYTHING these days. They create and destroy markets. They create and destroy competition. It’s madness.

  • Talltrees

    And these are the best and brightest the U.S. is looking for. My experience with Indians proved to me they are way below Whites.

  • IstvanIN

    Rema Hanna, an associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

    Shing-yi Wang, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

    At least in these two cases I can believe they couldn’t find an appropriate White American professor, considering these two come from two of the most dishonest, cheating, lack of shame societies in the world.

  • Spartacus

    This is where gypsies come from.

  • bigone4u

    If con man Deepak Chopra is an example, we are better off without the Hindus here. And he was a highly educated medical doctor before he began peddling his “De cow izz de mudder of mankind” brand of new age. Most of the Hindu and Chinese profs at my former university could barely speak English, if at all. That doesn’t say anything good about their IQs.

  • hastings88

    They are also likely to want American jobs.

  • JDInSanD

    One day my college roommate came home and told me an Indian friend of ours had just been caught cheating on an exam and failed the class. This kid was very well known to lie about his past and his grades. The next semester he was taking the course over again and I was in it this time. He actually told me he was auditing the course for the Dean to secretly rate the professor!

  • Yale2001

    not surprised, at all.

  • And I agree. Private sector Desis and public sector Desis are about the same. Private sector blacks and public sector blacks are about the same.

    • Oil Can Harry

      The money quote in that article is “Governments may need to find new ways to screen people seeking jobs.”

      And when local gov’ts do precisely that they’ll be sued by Eric Holder’s Injustice Dept. because their screening policy has a disparate impoact on those sainted nonwhites.

  • Le Fox

    Does anybody really think India’s going to be a world-class economy as all the “experts” say it is?

    No. No it won’t.