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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter examines the extent to which white-collar crime can be considered a “rational” crime that can be deterred by the threat of criminal, regulatory, or administrative sanctions. The authors present arguments as to why white-collar crime involves rational decision making and on what bases white-collar offenders are rational, and the extent to which they are responsive to deterrent threats. The authors review some of the empirical studies that have investigated whether white-collar offenders behave in a rational way by seeing to what extent perceptions of sanctions, both formal or official and informal, affect their judgment and decision making. The conclusion is that white-collar offenders are not strongly deterred by the threat of formal sanctions. However, they are affected by the possible financial and other benefits of offending, the possibility of social censure from others, and the extent to which criminal acts are morally condemned either personally or within the culture of the firm.

Keywords: white-collar crime, decision marking, deterrence, perceptions, rational

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