Study Shows Women Less Likely to Cheat on Taxes

Results of a study released by several professors show women are less likely to cheat on their taxes than men and they are less tolerant of others who admit to cheating on their taxes. The study helps to answer the question seemingly on everyone's mind these days: "Are women more ethical then men?"

The question was debated last week at Deutsche Bank's "Women on Wall Street" conference where panelists wondered why so many of the recent whistle-blowers have been women. Examples include Sherron Watkins at Enron, Cynthia Cooper at WorldCom and Coleen Rowley, an agent at the FBI who spoke out about the mishandling of terrorist attacks before September 11th.

In the survey by the professors, men and women differed in their reactions to these three questions:

  1. How strongly do you agree that everyone who cheats on their taxes should be held accountable? 86% of women agreed, compared with 79% of men, and 6% of the men disagreed completely, compared with only 1% of the women.

  2. How strongly do you agree it is everyone's personal responsibility to report anyone who cheats on their taxes? Only 28% of men agreed somewhat or completely, compared with 39% of the women. This means that 72% of male respondents and 61% of females do not feel it is a personal responsibility to report tax cheats.

  3. How acceptable do you think it is to slightly overstate deductions on income taxes? Almost half (46%) of men said it was somewhat or very acceptable, compared with only 36% of women.

View the abstract of the survey. The professors who conducted the survey are Jeffrey D. Eicher, JD, CPA and Thomas J. Stuhldreher of Clarion University of Pennsylvania and Wendy Stuhdreher, a professor at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

-Rosemary Schlank

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