Women are less likely than men to commit corporate fraud, according to a team of sociologists.
A team of researchers from Penn State University say that when women are involved in corporate fraud, they generally have a lesser role to play -- and make far less money than men. However, typically women choose not to be part of shady dealings.
Darrell Steffensmeier, professor of sociology and criminology at Penn State said that about three out of four conspiracies to commit corporate fraud were all-male, and there was no report of an all-female conspiracy.
More than half of females involved in corporate fraud made either no money or a "trivial" amount, whereas 26 percent of males earned between $500,000 and $999,000 and 33 percent made more than $1 million.
The team's report is based on corporate fraud cases from the U.S. Department of Justice between 2002 and 2009.
Steffensmeier believes that female executives may improve ethical standards, or the findings could suggest that women generally take fewer risks and self-censor more in the corporate world due to feeling "they are under greater surveillance" than male colleagues. In addition, women may not have as much access to top corporate positions -- and so less opportunity to profiteer.
"Women are less likely to be recruited as co-conspirators in male-orchestrated schemes and less likely to be able to recruit co-offenders should they wish to initiate a corporate fraud," Steffensmeier said. "The glass ceiling effect for involvement in corporate corruption is likely as great or greater than the ceiling that keeps women from climbing the corporate ladder."
The findings have been reported in the current issue of the American Sociological Review.
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