Choosing White-Collar Crime

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Cambridge University Press, 2005 M11 14
For more than three decades, rational-choice theory has reigned as the dominant approach both for interpreting crime and as underpinning for crime-control programs. Although it has been applied to an array of street crimes, white-collar crime and those who commit it have thus far received less attention. Choosing White-Collar Crime is a systematic application of rational-choice theory to problems of explaining and controlling white-collar crime. It distinguishes ordinary and upperworld white-collar crime and presents reasons theoretically for believing that both have increased substantially in recent decades. Reasons for the increase include the growing supply of white-collar lure and non-credible oversight. Choosing White-Collar Crime also examines criminal decision making by white-collar criminals and their criminal careers. The book concludes with reasons for believing that problems of white-collar crime will continue unchecked in the increasingly global economy and calls for strengthened citizen movements to rein in the increases.

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The Predisposed and Tempted
SelfRestraint and Oversight
Decision Making
Criminal Careers and Career Criminals
Beyond the Law?

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Page 134 - They appeared to represent the cream of the crop of this generation. None had any criminal record and all were relatively homogeneous on many dimensions initially. Half were arbitrarily designated as prisoners by a flip of a coin, the others as guards. These were the roles they were to play in our simulated prison. The guards were made aware of the potential seriousness and danger of the situation and their own vulnerability. They made up their own formal rules for maintaining law, order and respect,...
Page 5 - Today the villain most in need of curbing is the respectable, exemplary, trusted personage who, strategically placed at the focus of a spider-web of fiduciary relations, is able from his office-chair to pick a thousand pockets, poison a thousand sick, pollute a thousand minds, or imperil a thousand lives.
Page 6 - For the purpose of this paper, the term will be defined as an illegal act or series of illegal acts committed by nonphysical means and by concealment or guile, to obtain money or property, to avoid the payment or loss of money or property, or to obtain business or personal advantage.
Page 6 - White collar crime may be defined approximately as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.
Page 72 - Disapproval flowing from internalized norms and conforming others in the social environment is neutralized, turned back, or deflected in advance. Social controls that serve to check or inhibit deviant motivational patterns are rendered inoperative, and the individual is freed to engage in delinquency without serious damage to his self image.
Page 98 - ... affects the conditions under which goods and services are produced and the physical characteristics of products that are manufactured.
Page 7 - White-collar crime is democratic. It can be committed by a bank teller or the head of his institution. The offender can be a high government official with a conflict of interest. He can be the destitute beneficiary of a poverty program who is told to hire a work group and puts fictional workers on the payroll so that he can appropriate their wages. The character of white-collar crime must be found in its modi operandi and its objectives rather in the nature of the offenders.
Page 110 - ... usually do what they believe is likely to have the best overall outcome (Elster, 1989).
Page 7 - We examined eight such crimes in the federal system: antitrust offenses, securities and exchange fraud, postal and wire fraud, false claims and statements, credit and lending institution fraud, bank embezzlement, IRS [Internal Revenue Service] fraud, and bribery.
Page 161 - Whether weak or strong, culture has a powerful influence throughout an organization; it affects practically everything— from who gets promoted and what decisions are made, to how employees dress and what sports they play.

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About the author (2005)

Neal Shover is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he teaches courses in criminology, white-collar crime and criminal justice. He is author of A Sociology of American Corrections (1979), Aging Criminals (1985), (with Donald A. Clelland and John P. Lynxwiler) Enforcement or Negotiation? Constructing a Regulatory Bureaucracy (1986), (with Werner Einstadter) Analyzing American Corrections (1989), Great Pretenders: Pursuits and Careers of Persistent Thieves (1996) and co-editor (with John Paul Wright) of Crimes of Privilege (2000). His work has appeared in Social Forces, Social Problems, the British Journal of Criminology, Criminology, Crime, Law and Social Change and numerous edited collections.

Andy Hochstetler is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Iowa State University where he teaches courses on crime at the graduate and undergraduate levels as well as a course on inequality and stratification. He writes on white-collar crime, prisoners, criminal decision making and recidivism. His work has appeared in numerous edited collections and journals including Criminology, Social Problems, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, the Journal of Criminal Justice, Deviant Behavior and Crime, Law and Social Change.

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