skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 68002 Find in a Library
Title: CORPORATE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT - A NON-CHICAGO (IL) VIEW OF THE ECONOMICS OF CRIMINAL SANCTIONS
Journal: AMERICAN CRIMINAL LAW REVIEW  Volume:17  Issue:4  Dated:(SPRING 1980)  Pages:419-476
Author(s): J C COFFEE
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 58
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS OF FINES AND IMPRISONMENT AS SANCTIONS FOR CORPORATE CRIME IS ANALYZED, USING THE ECONOMIC CONCEPT OF UTILITY-MAXIMIZING BEHAVIOR.
Abstract: THE ECONOMIC THEORY FOR UTILITY-MAXIMIZING BEHAVIOR IS PARTICULARLY RELEVANT IN EXAMINING SANCTIONS FOR CORPORATE CRIME, BECAUSE CORPORATE CRIME IS MOST LIKELY TO BE CONSCIOUSLY PLANNED BY OFFENDERS, WHO RATIONALLY WEIGH THE BENEFITS TO BE GAINED IN COMPARISON TO THE RISK AND SEVERITY OF NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES. IF CORPORATE CRIME IS APPROACHED FROM THE THEORY OF UTILITY-MAXIMIZING BEHAVIOR, THE ENTIRE RANGE OF OUTCOMES WITH WHICH THE OFFENDER IS THREATENED ARE CONSIDERED, NOT ONLY THE PENALTY IMPOSED. CONSEQUENTLY, SIMPLE EXCHANGE RATE ADJUSTMENTS BETWEEN FINE AMOUNTS AND A PRISON SENTENCE LENGTH ARE NOT FEASIBLE, SINCE INCREASING THE DETERRENT THREAT OF A FINE INVOLVES NOT SIMPLY THE IMPOSITION OF A HIGHER FINE IN AN INDIVIDUAL CASE, BUT AN INCREASE OF THE MEAN VALUE OF THE ENTIRE PROBALITY DISPERSION FOR FINES. FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, FINES WILL GENERALLY LACK THE DETERRENT VALUE OF INCARCERATION, BECAUSE THE RANGE OF THE THREATENED SANCTION OF IMPRISONMENT TYPICALLY EXCEEDS THAT OF FINES. IF SUBSTANTIAL RELIANCE IS PLACE OPON FINES AS A DETERRENT FOR CORPORATE CRIME, HIGHER TRANSACTION COSTS FOR THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM WILL RESULT. THE OFFENDER WILL HAVE INCENTIVE TO EVADE FULL PAYMENT AND SEEK REDUCTION OR DELAY WHENEVER INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS OR A PERCENTAGE-OF-INCOME FORMULA IS USED. CONSTANT MONITORING AND CONTESTED HEARINGS ARE INEVITABLE. CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS MUST ALSO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE APPEARANCE OF BIAS WHICH WOULD RESULT FROM A SYSTEM OF SANCTIONS THAT FINES THE RICH (WHO CAN AFFORD IT) AND JAILS THE POOR. TO THE EXTENT THAT FINES ARE USED, PRECISE AMOUNTS FOR GIVEN CRIMES SHOULD BE AVOIDED, SO AS TO CONSIDER THE OFFENDER'S ABILITY TO PAY, THE LIKELY GAIN FROM THE OFFENSE, AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE FINE IS EQUIVALENT TO AN APPROPRIATE PRISON TERM IN ITS DISUTILITY FOR THE OFFENDER. A RATIONAL STRATEGY FOR SANCTIONS IN CASES OF CORPORATE CRIME SHOULD FOCUS UPON INDIVIDUAL DECISIONMAKER IN THE CORPORATE FRAMEWORK. WHERE CORPORATE BEHAVIOR HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY DELINQUENT, PREVENTIVE RESTRAINTS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED---RCB)
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Corporate criminal liability; Economic analysis; Fines; Incarceration; White collar crime
Note: PRESENTED AT THE WHITE-COLLAR CRIME SYMPOSIUM, 1980
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68002

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.