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Portrait Christopher Swader. Photo Emma Lord.

Christopher Swader

Associate Professor | Senior Lecturer

Portrait Christopher Swader. Photo Emma Lord.

Fraudulent Values. Materialistic Bosses and the Support for Bribery and Tax Evasion


  • Christopher Swader


  • David Whyte
  • Jorg Wiegratz

Summary, in English

Are capitalists more likely than others to justify ‘immoral’ acts such as bribery or
tax evasion? This chapter investigates the conditions under which this is the case.

While qualitative studies continue to document the nuances, mechanisms, and
practices of cheating and fraud among capitalists, quantitative work that tests the presence of fraud in modern economic life across a wide range of societies is
scarce. Using recent survey data representing 47 countries (World values Survey
2005–2009 wave; 66,500 individuals), this chapter aims to rectify this gap.

I proceed by presenting two alternative views about the role of fraud within
capitalism: one supposing that fraud stems from a dysfunctional form of capitalism and another supposing that fraud is intrinsic to capitalism. I then combine some ideas from these approaches by investigating both stable and variable components of capitalism in relation to fraud. Namely, I suppose that structural incentives within capitalism to maximize profit are universal, while individual support of fraud would be variable, depending on an individual’s materialistic values. Following this, four ideal-types are established that combine these two dimensions in order to test their empirical interplay with fraud support. Thereafter fraud support is tested across a wide sample using logistic regression models.

Results indicate that the justifiability of fraud is driven by an aspect of capitalist
culture that is malleable: the adherence to materialistic values. Fraud support does not emerge only from having a key position in the capitalist class.


  • Sociology

Publishing year







Neoliberalism and the Moral Economy of Fraud

Document type

Book chapter




  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • fraud
  • Tax evasion
  • Bribery
  • materialism
  • class
  • Capitalism




  • ISBN: 9781138930377