New Perspectives on Economic Crime

New Perspectives on Economic Crime

New Horizons in Law and Economics series

Edited by Hans Sjögren and Göran Skogh

Economic crime is, by definition, crime committed to gain profit within an otherwise legitimate business. Examples are illegal pollution, brand name infringement and tax evasion. The victims of such crimes may be private citizens, businesses and the state. The leading authors in this vital new book survey recent advances in the study of economic crime from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Hans Sjögren and Göran Skog

Extract

Hans Sjögren and Göran Skogh Criminology traditionally focuses on crimes against property and person, on deviant behaviour, and on treatment of offenders. Dominating fields of study are psychiatry, psychology and sociology. Without diminishing the importance of the traditional research it is clear that crime in business, such as illegal pollution, tax evasion, infringement of brand name and so on requires contributions from other sciences as well. Obvious disciplines are business administration, economics and information technology. The focus on deviant behaviour and treatment may explain why crime in business is neglected relative to its importance. Economic incentives to circumvent the law arise whenever a state imposes costly regulations. This is true for taxes and tolls, as well as for restrictions on, for example, trade or effluence. Obedience to law presumes supervision and various types of sanctions. If regulations are to be followed, a loyalty to the authorities also has to prevail. Laws and rules have, in other words, to be both ethically and economically defensible, and in line with the public sense of justice. Hence research into ethics, various fields of law, history and political science has important contributions to make to the study of crime. An important obstacle in the fight against crime in business is the limited enforcement in an open society. Physical and human capital moves easily between territories, while crime control mainly remains national. Moreover, individual loyalties differ and change – norms are neither globally unified nor static. Hence new incentives to gain profit illegally arise....