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ISSN: 1649-3877

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Principals, Agents and Entrepreneurs in White-Collar Crime: An Empirical Typology of White-Collar Criminals

JSME Vol 8: Issue 3, 2012

Author(s): Jan Ketil Arnulf and Petter Gottschalk (BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

Abstract:
This study explores a representative sample of 222 white-collar criminals in terms of the roles they and their victims had in their crimes. Establishing a typology framework based on agency models, we point out the most frequent types of white-collar criminals and their most profitable types of actions. Victims of white-collar crimes are predominantly participants in business transactions. As expected, top executives are a predominant group of white-collar criminals and their most frequent victims are owners. However, another type of white-collar criminal coined “entrepreneur criminal” turns out to be more frequent and making bigger profits in absolute and relative terms. These work within smaller, less established companies with less transparent governance and target a broad range of victims. Our data support the view that white-collar crime is based on competence-based and not deviant dispositions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: white-collar crime, top executives, agency theory, entrepreneurship

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