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.