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Gender Differences

For years now, feminist writers have been arguing for increased representation of women in public life as a matter of human rights and democratic justice. Very few people would argue with this proposition, adhering to the belief that women ought to be welcomed in public life by virtue of their democratic and employment rights alone. Additional support for this demand came in the form of an assertion by the World Bank in its 2001 report on Engendering Development through Gender Equality in Rights, Resources and Voice that high levels of female involvement in public life is highly correlated with low levels of corruption in government. The same report concluded that this finding lends “additional support for having more women in politics and in the labor force—since they could be an effective force for good government and trust” (World Bank 2001, 96). As we saw in Chapter 1, researchers (e.g., Swamy et al. 2001) reported that women are less involved in bribery and are less likely to condone bribe-taking. Also, cross-country data show that corruption is less severe where women hold a larger proportion of parliamentary seats and senior positions in government bureaucracy and make up a larger share of the labor force. We also saw in Chapter 1, however, that there is more convincing evidence that rather than women being less corrupt than men, it is more likely that gender shapes opportunities for corruption.

As far as fraud is concerned, Alleyne and Elson (2013) analyzed data on all frauds and misrepresentations that took place in corporations during 1996— 2002 and were collected by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in the United States. They found that males commit more fraud within an organization than females (p. 102) and the proportion of male fraudsters decreased following the enactment of the Sarbanes—Oxley (SOX) legislation. One possible explanation for their finding is that men are more likely to have held management or executive positions, and SOX had a greater impact on that type of fraud than on employee fraud, where women would be more likely to be involved. In addition, Alleyne and Elson’s findings need to be treated with caution because, as they themselves admitted, they did not have access to sufficient data to carry out detailed statistical tests (p. 105). But might it be that gender differences found in ethical behavior reflect differences in moral reasoning?

 
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