Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cheaters Never Prosper

Today is tax day, except that it isn't. Not in 2012, when our tax deadline is April 17.

DDB, a global advertising conglomerate, surveyed people about cheating on their taxes. Only 7 percent said they were likely to do so. (Remember, this is self-reporting and most people think they are more honest, upright and beautiful than they actually are.)

What interested me is that those 7 percent who were willing to admit they cheated are very different than those who claimed to be on the up-and-up.

The survey uncovered characteristics that DDB called "chronic wanton behaviors illustrating a skewed moral compass and an inflated sense of entitlement." For example, tax cheats are more likely than noncheats to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, take money from their child’s piggy bank that they don’t intend to return, and value their own happiness over that of others.

I went to a fascinating lecture on borderline personality disorder a few years ago; one of the characteristics the psychiatrist talked about was narcissism. Sounds like cheaters fit into the same category somehow.


  1. I wonder if cheaters come out ahead financially. Perhaps big-time ones do, small-time ones don't? It would be interesting to find out if there's a pattern or a statistic. Seems if you're robbing from your kid's piggy-bank, you're already a loser!

  2. Good question. We always hear about how crime doesn't pay - but does it?

    I'm sure there's some research out there on this question.

    My hunch would be that high-level, white collar criminals are more likely to prosper than the low-level street crime types.