Simon I. Singer
Delinquency in adolescence is a known precursor to adult criminality. Nonetheless, the delinquencies of adolescents are generally considered irrelevant to adult white-collar crime. This chapter reviews reasons for why adolescence might matter to explanations of white-collar offending. It begins by defining white-collar delinquency as an act of fraud committed by a middle- or upper-class adolescent in his or her educational, familial, or workplace setting. Class, age, and gender are significant determinants of white-collar delinquencies. The chapter concludes with several cases of white-collar delinquency and survey data on its incidence.
Neal Shover, Andy Hochstetler, and Tage Alalehto
In Western countries such as the United States, crime is viewed as chosen behavior. This assumption emerged as the dominant theoretical underpinning of crime control policy-making in the decades encompassing the dawn of the twenty-first century. Routine activity theory is a good example of how contemporary criminological scholars have been drawn to choice models of criminal behavior. The notion of crime as choice also underlies many, if not most, contemporary interpretations of white-collar crime. For instance, theoretical explanations in which the causal importance of variation in criminal opportunities is stressed are based on choice models. Crime-as-choice theory overlaps but is not coextensive with rational choice theory; it differs mainly from the latter by not incorporating an assumption a priori that criminal choices are rational. This article applies the concepts and logic of crime-as-choice theory to explain variation in white-collar crime.
Comparing Assumptions Underlying Regulatory Inspection Strategies: Implications for Oversight Policy
This chapter first distinguishes four influential policy ideas about regulatory inspection—criminalizing corporate non-compliance, reintegrative shaming, the enforcement pyramid, and risk-based regulation—in terms of assumed compliance motives. Subsequently, the state-centeredness of these four policy ideas is contrasted with the polycentric point of view underlying responsive regulation and regulatory governance. Finally, it is concluded that general perspectives underlie each of the aforementioned policy ideas on regulatory inspection. Regulation is viewed in terms of conflict or harmony or as a social or scientific process, and regulatory power is conceived of as concentrated or dispersed. All regulatory inspection ideas grapple with implementation problems. This means the comparative edge of the various ideas cannot be easily established empirically. Ultimately, it comes down to determining the context in which these different ideas are most effective.
Michael L. Benson, Shanna R. Van Slyke, and Francis T. Cullen
This chapter introduces the eight core themes that guided the selection of essays in this Handbook. These are (1) concept, (2) offender, (3) organization, (4) choice, (5) opportunity, (6) context, (7) costs, and (8) control. These themes have guided investigations and policy debates on white-collar crime and white-collar offenders for the past half-century. Like any area of vigorous scholarship, the study of white-collar crime is replete with theoretical controversies and unanswered empirical questions, but a great deal has been learned nevertheless since Sutherland coined the term. In this chapter, key research findings in the eight thematic areas are identified, major topics of theoretical debate that currently engage the field are explicated, and policy implications regarding the control of white-collar crime are discussed.
Mark A. Cohen
From an employee who steals $50 from the cashbox to a multibillion-dollar conspiracy to manipulate interest rates, the costs of white-collar crime are far-reaching and often extend beyond the pure financial realm. Many victims of financial frauds suffer psychological harm akin to those of assault victims. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have been convicted of falsifying test results finding an increased risk of side effects, resulting in patients suffering needless injury or death. Oil companies have been convicted of causing major spills leading to property damage, lost earnings, and environmental harm. Ultimately, the study of white-collar or corporate crime costs is not much different from that of street crime: both require a comprehensive look at a host of harmful outcomes, including monetary, psychological, and health-related impacts. What makes the study of white-collar crime costs more difficult is the lack of consistent victimization data and the fact that much white-collar crime involves regulatory offenses and/or occurs during legitimate business activities.
Wei Wang and Hongming Cheng
Although scholars have proposed various models to explain white-collar crime, few have explored how the credibility of oversight may affect the aggregate rates of white-collar crime. This chapter attempts to address this relationship by focusing on fraud as a broad category of white-collar crime. The credibility of oversight has been measured by legislative reforms regarding white-collar crime and enhanced oversight programs jointly implemented by law enforcement agencies and other related public and private organizations. Using data retrieved from Uniform Crime Reports from Statistics Canada and the victimization reports from the Canada Anti-Fraud Center, the results show that the enhanced credibility of oversight may be associated with the downward trends in fraud in the long term. However, due to the limited scope of data, these results should be interpreted with cautions. A suggested agenda for future studies is provided.
Edward Tomlinson and Amanda Pozzuto
This chapter is predicated on the view that white-collar crime emanates from a decision making process and reviews research on how contextual factors in organizations may influence these decisions. It examines three prominent features of an organization’s context (the reward system, organizational culture, and organizational structure) and explains how these factors are expected to relate to the perceived benefits (i.e., lure) and perceived costs (i.e., credibility of oversight and likelihood of detection) of white-collar crime. Our analysis suggests that reward systems should be tied to legitimate goals that are challenging but attainable. We also recommend that organizations develop formal, comprehensive ethics programs. Finally, we discuss the implications of structural choices organizations make regarding centralization, departmentalization, and formalization as they likely pertain to white-collar crime.
The aim of this chapter is to explore organizational factors that account for the criminal acts of individuals within organizations on behalf of their employer. General organizational characteristics, distinguished in organizational sciences, include organizational strategy, organizational structure, and organizational culture. This chapter discusses theorizing and results of empirical research on each of these organizational factors as explanatory variables for corporate crime. The chapter concludes that organizational properties and dynamics are crucial in the process of understanding white-collar crime, as the defining characteristic of occupational crime is an organizational context. More rigorous empirical research is needed to test and refine theories of the relations between white-collar crime and organizational properties and dynamics.
Susyan Jou, Bill Hebenton, and Lennon Chang
Culture, whether invoked as a dependent or independent variable, has become increasingly significant with respect to the study of white-collar criminality. Indeed, it can be argued that it has moved from the periphery to the center of criminological concerns and research. This chapter considers the conceptual underpinnings of geographic cultural variation on values and organization, together with its uses and implications within particular forms of cross-national research on white-collar crime, particularly corruption (including bribery and intellectual property fraud). To illustrate the explicatory value of the cultural, the chapter examines the Chinese practice of guanxi. Culture is just one partial aspect of any adequate explanation for white-collar crime, part of the mix with other aspects of action that are more commonly understood as political or economic.
Samuel C. McQuade III
This article begins by discussing cybercrime as an evolving technology-based crime construct. Cybercrime includes existing and emerging forms of criminality carried out with electronic IT devices and information systems. This is followed by examples and explanations of emerging IT-enabled abuse and crime and discussion of major types of cybercrime and categories of cyber offenders. This article reviews cyber offending and victimization on the basis of a limited number of available studies. It then discusses responses to cybercrime by numerous investigative, regulatory, and technical assistance entities. There is broad consensus that cybercrime threatens many institutional sectors and critical information infrastructure. Finally, the article concludes with suggestions for research and discussions of possibilities for mounting and sustaining coordinated research, evaluation, and prevention initiatives.
Michael L. Benson
This chapter considers white-collar offenders from the perspective of life-course theory and thus integrates the study of white-collar crime into mainstream criminology. The main principles and findings of the life-course perspective are outlined, followed by a discussion about the characteristics and criminal careers of white-collar offenders. The potential effects of propensities and controls on white-collar offending are then addressed. The discussion then turns to recent social, historical, and legal changes that may have influenced motivations and opportunities for white-collar crime and thus affected patterns in white-collar offending over the life course. The chapter concludes by noting what white-collar crime researchers might take from the life-course perspective to advance understanding of white-collar offenders and how the life-course and developmental perspectives might be improved if they expanded their focus to adult white-collar offending.
Sally S. Simpson and Melissa Rorie
In light of the global financial crisis, a great deal of interest has emerged in the relationship between economic crisis and crime. Although most research in this area has focused on street crime, this chapter reviews and assesses the theoretical and empirical literature on economic conditions and corporate crime. Since both corporate and individual actors (as company representatives) may engage in illegal conduct, the chapter gives special consideration to how individuals who are embedded within the organization/corporate context respond to economic fluctuations. Overall, the review reveals a relatively sparse literature with inconsistent and conflicting findings. Several strategies for further research in this area are recommended.
Brian K. Payne
This chapter examines the consequences of criminal justice attention and sanctions for white-collar defendants. Using media reports, prior research on white-collar offenders, autobiographies by white-collar offenders, and biographies about white-collar offenders, the effects identified include psychological effects, relationship effects, financial effects, identity effects, and effects stemming from the sanction. Attention is also given to the ways that offenders have coped with these effects. In general, white-collar offenders appear to be particularly resilient and able to overcome the negative effects. Family members also experience negative effects when white-collar offenders are processed through the justice system.
Jay P. Kennedy
Employee theft is a serious crime that creates large social and economic problems. However, it has received relatively little attention from crime scholars. Because the effects of employee theft are wide-ranging and potentially very significant, it is important to develop mechanisms to reduce opportunities for this type of crime. This chapter discusses the variety of behaviors considered to constitute employee theft, what is known about the sources of employee motivation, the role the criminal justice system and businesses play in addressing employee theft, and the potential for partnerships among criminal justice agencies and businesses to reduce theft and increase guardianship. It is argued that an increased focus upon these crimes will lead to crime prevention strategies that reduce the opportunity for employee theft, while also aiding law enforcement and businesses as they deal with this issue.
Peter Cleary Yeager and Sally S. Simpson
This article focuses on environmental offenses and policy within the United States with particular emphasis on legal approaches in other countries. It describes types and patterns of environmental lawbreaking by business organizations and analyses some of the data and measurement issues that perplex and challenge researchers. It explores individual, organizational, and structural explanations for environmental crime and examines national and international policies for regulating the environmental behaviors of business. Constraints on policy that shape environmental outcomes are also discussed. It concludes with a consideration of the implications of these findings for both future research and public policy. Future research should seek to assess, which combination of persuasion, inducement, and compulsion devices contribute most to industrial and state commitments to environmental protection.
This article begins by examining the evidence on the extent and costs of financial crimes. It includes a broad variety of deceptions against a spectrum of poor and wealthy individuals and businesses. It present an analysis of organization of financial crimes at a general level and then discusses subtypes of fraud, based on their techniques and victim sectors. It provides an understanding of the organization of fraud in terms of how would-be offenders confront problems of gaining finance, gaining access to crime opportunities, and retaining their freedom and crime proceeds. There is a discussion of alternative model of thinking about financial crimes and involves clustering them as the skill sets, contacts, start-up capital, and running costs that they require. It concludes with an examination of the major regulatory and criminal justice policy options.
Cheryl L. Maxson and Kristy N. Matsuda
Streets gangs are a form of delinquent peer group. This article begins with describing the characteristics that distinguish gangs from other social groups. It draws from both law enforcement and research studies, relying primarily on information produced in the past two decades to discuss different approaches to defining gangs, including the conceptual and methodological difficulties of measuring gang membership and gang crime and delinquency. It also gives a brief history of gangs; further describing gang prevalence, joining, and group processes. Following this, it focuses on trends in gang crime, the individual offending patterns of gang members, and what is known about differential crime patterns in various types of gangs. It concludes with a discussion of current approaches to gang prevention, intervention, and control.
Stacy De Coster, Karen Heimer, and Samantha R. Cumley
Females are less likely than males to violate the law, a statement that has become a criminological truism and might help explain why the major theoretical paradigms in criminology tend to focus more on male offending than on female delinquency. Although females are less likely to engage in illegal behavior, they do so nonetheless. This article looks at the major criminological paradigms—control, strain, and learning—and the extent to which they have addressed female delinquency as well as the gender gap in delinquency. While it is true that the most prominent theories in each paradigm pay little attention to gender, some have suggested that these theories can explain delinquency in both males and females. In other words, the theories are believed to be gender-neutral. Indeed, there is empirical evidence to support the argument that the major social-psychological processes and variables in these theories—social bonds, self-control, strain, and learning—influence male and female delinquency.
Men commit the majority of white-collar crime. The participation of women in corporate and occupational fraud is limited, and the role they may play in the future is unknown. This chapter explores historical and current perspectives of the gendered nature of white-collar crime. Women’s lack of opportunity in the workforce has restricted their access to illegal behavior, although mid-level employment positions contribute to a high number of female embezzlers. The existing research suggests women remain marginalized as pink-collar workers and criminals, despite speculation that occupational, professional, and political crimes are increasing. Current literature shows continued levels of low female involvement in white-collar crime because of workplace, social, and gendered barriers. Further research is needed to identify if and how women and white-collar crime are connected.
Jean Marie McGloin and Stephanie DiPietro
One of the controversial issues in criminology is the notion that females are less likely than males to commit a crime. Although scholars have hotly debated the changing magnitude of the gender gap in recent years, they have not devoted so much attention to whether females exhibit disproportionately lower rates of crime—particularly violent crime—than males. Given the persistence of the gender gap in offending, it is not surprising then that research on criminal behavior has relegated females to an ancillary role. This article explores the relationship between gender and offending as it pertains to the peer group, specifically friends. It argues that deviant peer influence is a strong and important predictor of both male and female offending. It examines this risk for female offenders and explains why certain peers—namely those of the opposite sex—may exert a particularly powerful influence over females.