CEOs who cheat on spouse twice as likely to cheat at work, study shows

The study came about in an unlikely way. Finance professors at the University of Texas at Austin and Emory University 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. That’s because a computer hack in 2015 exposed the names and personal data of more than 30 million users.

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.

“Our study indicates cheating in one context carries over to cheating in others,” said Griffin, who has a specialty investigating Wall Street misconduct. “We’re not trying to debate ethics or lecture people. All we’re doing is examining the data and the data is fairly strong.”