Finance professors at the University of Texas at Austin and Emory University found a strong correlation between adultery and workplace misconduct by corporate executives and financial advisers. “[The researchers] were able to examine customers of Ashley Madison, a dating site for married people looking to have affairs, or ‘discreet encounters’ as it puts it,” reports Bloomberg. “That’s because a computer hack in 2015 exposed the names and personal data of more than 30 million users.” From the report: Researchers examined four groups of users specifically — a total of 11,000 brokers, corporate executives, white-collar criminals and police officers. Cross-checking against public records, they found that those Ashley Madison customers generally were more than twice as likely to have violated professional codes of conduct compared with a control group, according to authors John Griffin, Samuel Kruger and Gonzalo Maturana.
The results were fairly consistent across the four occupations. For example, the study found that 4.1% of individuals accused of violating securities laws by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission between 2010 and 2015 had paid accounts at Ashley Madison. That compared to 1% of the control population, which consisted of people with similar work histories but no misconduct charges. CEOs and CFOs who had accounts were twice as likely to have engaged in a financial misstatement or be the focus of a class action securities lawsuit between 2008 and 2014. Cheating brokers were more likely than the control group to have black marks on their records maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The findings are to be published next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.