Studies on cheating are hard because people don’t like to admit they cheat. But last year’s Ashley Madison hack gave researchers a way to study the how people that cheat might influence how the company they work for performs. The study found unsurprisingly that companies with a lot of Ashley Madison users scored low on a corporate responsibility index. But, as the Wall Street Journal points out, when they looked a little deeper at the numbers things got interesting.
“They found companies with more Ashley Madison users tended to have higher debt loads, more return volatility, were closer to defaulting on their debt and had higher credit spreads.”
Then the WSJ suggests that might be a good thing?
“Those are all hallmarks of a higher penchant for risk taking. And while investing in companies that take more risk isn’t for everyone, the economy would be poorer if there weren’t some firms swinging for the fences.”
And then in perhaps the strangest argument for cheating as a good thing ever:
“The economy would also be poorer for it without innovation…It seems people who have to come up with creative excuses to their spouses may be creative in more positive aspects of life, too.”
Somehow we don’t think “but babe cheating helps me be a better innovator” is going to fly with everyone.