A study of I.R.S. data by a University of Chicago graduate student, now Doctor, Oscar Vela, produced the following list of the professions most likely to file fraudulent tax returns, at least according to his analysis. Make of it what you will. The Time Magazine website blog post about the list is worth reading, first for the blogger’s highly questionable theories explaining, for example, why lawyers aren’t on it, but mostly to see conclusive proof that Time is hiring English-as-a-second-language night students, relatives of Ko-Ko the talking gorilla, or stroke victims to write their blogs. Sample sentence: “His conclusion was that as much as we would like to think so we pay taxes out of the goodness of our hearts, or even because we are fearful of fines or worse.” Henry Luce just did a back-flip in his grave.
Dr. Vela’s theory is that the professions that are required to maintain a perception of integrity are less likely to cheat. Let us say that I am dubious. Why then are scientists so high on the list?
Here it is:
1) Production Workers – bakers, butchers, factory workers, jewelers
2) Building and Ground Maintenance – cleaning staffs, janitors, landscapers, pest control workers
3) Transportation and Material Moving Operations – bus drivers, parking lot attendants, movers
4) Construction Trade – contractors, electricians, house painters
5) Install, Maintain and Repair – auto mechanics, home appliance repairmen, locksmiths
6) Life, Physical and Social Sciences – chemists, economists, zoologists
7) Protective Services – crossing guards, firefighters, police, security guards
8 ) Personal Care – childcare workers, funeral attendants, manicurists
9) Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media – actors, editors, public relations specialists
10) Healthcare Support – dental assistants, home health aides, massage therapists
And here’s the graph from Vela’s dissertation, plotting the professions’ incidence of cheating against their supposed “index of importance of integrity,” whatever that is.