Gender, attractiveness, and judgment of impropriety: The case of accountants

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Gender and attractiveness have been studied as affecting employment, incomes, and politics. We focus on these characteristics in influencing judgments of unethical behavior of accountants. Vignettes involving unethical behavioral were displayed to 4102 subjects in different versions accompanied by the image of the perpetrator. Unethical behavior was judged with more severity if the behavior was illegal than if there had been a violation of professional norms. The same behavior by male accountants was evaluated as more ethical than when undertaken by female accountants. There was however a high beauty premium for women. The greatest tolerance was shown toward plain-looking male accountants, who represent the traditional accountant stereotype whose likelihood of behaving unethically is regarded as low. Our results show compromise of fairness and of equality before the law. We propose explanations for our results based on accountant-stereotype hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101916
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Accountants
  • Attractiveness
  • Beauty
  • Ethics
  • Fairness
  • Gender

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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