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Über dieses Buch

This open access book examines the magnitude, causes of, and reactions to white-collar crime, based on the theories and research of those who have uncovered various forms of white-collar crime. It argues that the offenders who are convicted represent only ‘the tip of the iceberg’ of a much greater problem: because white-collar crime is forced to compete with other kinds of financial crime like social security fraud for police resources and so receives less attention and fewer investigations. Gottschalk and Gunnesdal also offer insights into estimation techniques for the shadow economy, in an attempt to comprehend the size of the problem. Holding broad appeal for academics, practitioners in public administration, and government agencies, this innovative study serves as a timely starting point for examining the lack of investigation, detection, and conviction of powerful white-collar criminals.

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Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 1. White-Collar Crime Research

Abstract
One of the theoretical challenges facing scholars is to develop an accepted definition of white-collar crime. The main characteristic is that it is economic crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of an occupation. While Edwin Sutherland’s concept of white-collar crime has enlightened sociologists, criminologists, and management researchers, the concept may have confused attorneys, judges and lawmakers. One reason for this confusion is that white-collar crime in Sutherland’s research is both a crime committed by a specific type of person, and it is a specific type of crime. Later research has indicated, as applied in this book, that white-collar crime is no specific type of crime, it is only a crime committed by a specific type of person.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 2. Theory of Crime Convenience

Abstract
The theory of convenience attempts to integrate theoretical explanations for the occurrence of white-collar crime from sociology, psychology, management, organizational behavior, criminology, and other fields to shed light on different perspectives of convenience. Convenience can be both an absolute and a relative construct. As an absolute construct, it is attractive to commit financial crime as such. As a relative construct, it is more convenient to commit crime than to carry out alternative actions to solve a problem or gain benefits from an opportunity. White-collar criminals probably vary in their perceived convenience of their actions. Behavioral willingness can be high when the subjective detection risk is low. Detection risk is a combination of likelihood of detection and consequences after detection. Subjective detection risk varies among individuals.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 3. Tip of the Crime Iceberg

Abstract
We apply the method of expert elicitation to estimate the size of the iceberg and to evaluate reasons why so few white-collar criminals are convicted. We address the following research questions: What is the estimated magnitude of white-collar crime? Why are many white-collar criminals never detected, investigated, prosecuted, and convicted? From our database, we know that 58 white-collar criminals were sentenced to prison every year between 2009 and 2015 in Norway, and we know the average amount involved in their crime. Based on this knowledge, is it possible to estimate the total magnitude of white-collar crime in the country? We recruited a panel of 15 experts to estimate a number of parameters that can determine the total amount of money lost yearly because of white-collar crime.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 4. Expert Elicitation for Estimation

Abstract
In 2015, the head of the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim), Trond Eirik Schea, estimated that as many as three out of every four white-collar criminals went unpunished in Norway. We use a total of seven approaches to estimate the magnitude of white-collar crime. According to our experts, the most likely estimate is 11.9 billion NOK (the average estimate from our seven approaches). Our low estimate of 4.4 billion NOK per year roughly translates into three out of four white-collar criminals getting away every year. This equals Schea’s estimate. Our experts, however, claim that there is a 90 percent probability that this figure is too low, and that the problem we are facing is in fact larger.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 5. Research Challenges

Abstract
Expert elicitation is a research method designed to make estimations in areas where we have no certain knowledge. We tried to estimate the magnitude of white-collar crime in Norway. On our way to a final answer, we were faced with some obstacles in our research design. This chapter presents methodological challenges in estimating the magnitude of white-collar crime in a country in a year. The chapter makes a contribution to reflected learning from empirical research. The methodological issues are concerned with recruitment of experts, willingness and reactions from experts, and responses to different ways of representing the iceberg. A number of experts at first refused to participate. When they learned the identity of one of the researchers, this increased the response rate considerably.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 6. More Research Results

Abstract
We asked our experts what they think might be the reason for all those never caught or convicted: Is it because they are never detected, never investigated, never prosecuted, or because they are never convicted? All respondents agree that detection is the major reason for lack of law enforcement. Only 8 percent of white-collar criminals convicted to prison in Norway from 2009 to 2015 are women. On average, experts believe that 6.5 percent of all female offenders are caught, while 10.5 percent of all male offenders are caught. Experts confirm in this study that detection of white-collar crime is dependent on gender. Male criminals are detected more frequently than females. One explanation for this gender gap is the lack of suspicion towards female offenders.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 7. Student Elicitation for Estimation

Abstract
A class of bachelor-level students, who were attending lectures in a course on financial crime at the business school in Oslo in the spring term 2017, was asked to fill in a questionnaire with most of the questions we asked our expert panel. When these answers are compared to the expert elicitation earlier in the book, we find that students believe in a slightly higher conviction rate among all those who commit white-collar crime. Our experts believed it was 9.4 percent, while students believe it is 13.5 percent. Rather than focusing on the difference between these estimates, it makes sense to claim that they are similar. Both experts and students believe that the iceberg is many times bigger than what is visible above the surface.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 8. Social Security Fraud

Abstract
Social security fraud and white-collar offences represent serious forms of financial crime. We compare previous estimates of social security fraud in Norway made using a comparable methodology to that which we have applied to white-collar crime. Although the estimated 9.8 billion NOK for social security fraud is enormous in a nation like Norway, we suggest that the amount for white-collar crime is even bigger. We also apply social conflict theory to discuss the issue of priorities in law enforcement between social security fraud versus white-collar crime. According to social conflict theory, the justice system is biased and designed to protect the wealthy and powerful. They will never accept the view that minor fraud prosecution represents a kind of over-criminalization targeted at the losers in society.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 9. Other Macroeconomic Estimations

Abstract
White-collar crime is part of the shadow economy. The shadow economy may be any kind of illegal activity that causes damage to the financial interests of the country, performed by legal and illegal businesses. Just like the magnitude of white-collar crime cannot be specifically observed, the shadow economy is generally not observable, so its magnitude must be estimated. This can be done either by direct procedures at a microlevel, by indirect procedures that make use of macroeconomic indicators, or with statistical models to estimate the shadow economy. Given the uncertainty in all macroeconomic estimates of crime—be it white-collar crime, tax evasion, or social security fraud—it is extremely important to be cautious in the application of such numbers in political and management arguments.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Chapter 10. White-Collar Crime Detection

Abstract
In Norway, 405 white-collar offenders were convicted and imprisoned between 2009 and 2016. Journalists detected 25 percent of these criminals, followed by crime victims, bankruptcy attorneys, internal auditors, tax authority clerks, bank employees, external auditors, and police officers. Many of these detections were based on whistleblowing to external journalists, internal auditors, and others. The sum of money involved in crime is significantly larger in cases detected by journalists. Only 5 percent of the criminals in our sample were detected by auditors. Signal detection theory may shed some light on why some actors discover and disclose more white-collar crime than others. It holds that the detection of a stimulus depends on both the intensity of the stimulus and the physical and psychological state of the individual.
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Open Access

Erratum to: White-Collar Crime in the Shadow Economy

Without Abstract
Petter Gottschalk, Lars Gunnesdal

Backmatter

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