Women’s perception of unethical behavior among finance professionals may contribute to how underrepresented they are in the industry, according to a recently published article Iowa State University assistant professor of finance Tyler Jensen co-authored with colleagues at Zhejiang University and Creighton University.

The research team administered surveys to nearly 3,000 college students in the U.S. and China, describing 10 scenarios in which a character makes an ethically questionable decision. Students were asked to rate how ethical the action was and what percentage of investment managers they believe would act in the same way.

By a statistically significant margin, women in the U.S. ranked the characters’ actions as more unethical than men did. However, they also proved more pessimistic about financial professionals’ ethics, presuming that a significantly higher percentage of investment managers would take the same action. In other words, female respondents in the U.S. perceived a larger discrepancy between their own ethical views and what they believe about investment managers.

Read Jensen’s full article in The Conversation here.