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Fabio Bertranou and Luis Casanova

This chapter examines employment formalization in Argentina from 2003 to 2014 as well as the public policies associated with that process. It identifies the critical segments of informality along with the challenges they pose to a strategy aimed at reducing informality in a labour market that has proven relatively resistant to such reductions in recent years. The results show a decrease in informality for salaried employment, although there has not been a similar decrease among the self-employed. After a significant drop in non-registered salaried employment between 2003 and 2008, slower formal employment growth has offset advances in formalization. Informality affects nearly 44 per cent of all employed individuals. The need to develop specific actions as part of a comprehensive strategy is due to the characteristics of the critical segments of the labour market and the persistence of a heterogeneous productive structure.

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Empirical study of white-collar criminals

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

As evidenced in this chapter, convenience orientation can be identified among convicted white-collar criminals. Their convenience orientation was frequently present in all three dimensions of convenience theory. We suggest that executives with a greater degree of convenience orientation will be more inclined to implement convenient strategies to achieve personal and business goals. If crime is a more convenient option to reach a goal, then executives with a greater degree of convenience orientation will have a stronger tendency to break the law. In this line of reasoning, the extent of white-collar crime can be reduced if executives with strong convenience orientation are identified. Executives and others in the elite who strongly dislike spending time and effort on time-consuming and complicated procedures, might be identified by implementing review procedures and surveillance mechanisms to prevent them from committing crime. Individual convenience orientation can be reduced by an increased subjective likelihood of detection. Simply stated, if you think you will get caught, you do not commit crime.

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Economical dimension of convenience theory

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

The motive for white-collar crime is simply financial gain. The motive for financial gain, however, can vary. Crime might be a response to both possibilities and threats, and it might be a response to both strengths and weaknesses. An offense can enable exploration and exploitation of a business or a personal possibility that may otherwise seem unobtainable. An offense can enable avoidance of business threats or personal threats. An offense can make the business or the personal situation even stronger, and it can reduce and compensate for business or personal weaknesses. Financial gain as motive for white-collar crime can either benefit the individual or the organization. If illegal financial gain benefits the individual, it is labeled occupational crime. The individual benefits personally from illegal economical gain in a setting where his or her occupation enables white-collar crime. The motive for personal financial gain can vary in terms of possibilities and threats, and strengths and weaknesses.

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Richard E. Wagner

In bringing economic analysis to bear on the settlement of legal disputes, it is commonly presumed that the parties to the dispute are governed by the principles of private property and so are residual claimants to their legal expenses. This institutional framework promotes a substantive rationality that is often conducive to the settlement of disputes without trial. In contemporary mixed economies, however, a political agency is often party to a dispute. These agencies operate under a different substantive rationality because the framework of collective property under which they operate means they do not have residual claims on their legal expenses. They can, however, convert those expenses into investments in politically preferred activity. What results is a conflict between rationalities that generates societal tectonics that often are misidentified as market failures when they are really systemic properties of the conflicting rationalities.

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Bruce L. Benson

Hayek (1973, 83) pointed out that: “It is in the … law merchant, and the practices of the ports and fairs that we must chiefly seek the steps in the evolution of law which ultimately made an open society possible.” A large literature has examined this medieval Lex Mercatoria, or Law Merchant, much of it supporting Hayek’s contention, but there also is a growing literature criticizing the Law Merchant story. One criticism is that during the high Middle Ages, and even the late Middle Ages, non-simultaneous trades were virtually nonexistent, so issues such as credibility of promises and enforcement of contracts were not relevant. Some critics go so far as to argue that the Law Merchant literature is grossly inaccurate, and that those who have written about the system have intentionally misused evidence in order to support a particular political view. Some of these criticisms are addressed in this chapter. The medieval Law Merchant was customary law, and many of the criticisms of the literature reflect a misunderstanding of customary law. Therefore, this concept and its implications for interpretation of historical evidence are explained. Aspects of trade in the high Middle Ages are then discussed, stressing the roles of contracting and credit while simultaneously emphasizing some characteristics of the Law Merchant that apparently have not been adequately explained, given recent criticisms. Finally various relationships between the medieval Law Merchant and other legal systems are examined, as these relationships also are significant sources of misunderstanding underlying some criticisms.

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Sven Frisch

The financial crisis hit Germany’s banking industry early and severely. But closer analysis reveals that Germany’s banking crisis was peculiarly asymmetric due to the country’s highly segregated three-pillar banking model, and to the differentiated business models, degrees of exposure to international financial markets, and reliance on interbank borrowing, that it entailed. These idiosyncrasies played a major role in shaping the three phases of Germany’s response to that crisis, from the early ad hoc aid measures designed to rescue the banks most heavily exposed to the subprime crisis, through the implementation of a comprehensive scheme to stabilise banks faced with liquidity issues, to the creation of a bad bank to tackle the most severely and persistently affected banks.

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Corporate social responsibility

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

This chapter discusses how combatting crime in general, and financial crime and white-collar crime in particular, is an integral part of corporate social responsibility (CSR), especially when crime finds its opportunity structure in the organization. White-collar crime originates and manifests itself in organizations. Organizations must carry responsibility for the negative impacts on society, for example when internal criminals are prosecuted and jailed at the expense of society. To take on CSR means to pay back to society. Payback is the opposite of creating costs to society. CSR is supposed to be a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and national and international norms. CSR is a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their business operations and into the interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.

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Convenience in white-collar crime

Convenience in White-Collar Crime

Petter Gottschalk

Convenience is a concept that was theoretically mainly associated with efficiency in time savings. Today, convenience is associated with a number of other characteristics, such as reduced effort and reduced pain. Convenience is associated with terms such as fast, easy, and safe. Convenience says something about attractiveness and accessibility. A convenient individual is not necessarily bad or lazy. On the contrary, the person can be seen as smart and rational. Convenience orientation is conceptualized as the value that individuals and organizations place on actions with inherent characteristics of saving time and effort. Convenience orientation can be considered a value-like construct that influences behavior and decision-making.

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Conclusions and recommendations

Investigating and Prosecuting Across Borders

Janet Austin

This chapter is the conclusion and reflects upon the findings that flow from the previous chapters. It concludes that the analysis undertaken in the book reveals that the transformations to the securities markets in recent years do appear to have given rise to new avenues to engage in cross-border market manipulation and insider trading. In addition, it observes that securities regulators have taken some significant steps to improve their detection and investigative techniques and that they are steadily detecting more complex examples of these offences as a result. However, the author concludes ultimately that more can be done and as such makes some recommendations about how this might best be achieved.

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Peter J. Boettke and Todd J. Zywicki

The future of “Austrian” law and economics is informed and draws its inspirations from past methodological battles faced by the Austrian School in its development. From this past methodological battles arose Austrian-inspired developments, including transaction cost economics, property rights economics, public choice economics, and market process economics. Central to this interpretive slant in the narrative on the history of modern economic thought is law and economics. The research program in law and economics related to endogenous rule formation takes on, as we argued, a new urgency in a world where, analytically and empirically, we are effectively reasoning “out of anarchy.” Methodologically and analytically, this is best tackled by pursuing “invisible hand” theorizing. One of the real intellectual conundrums of the modern world is that if we recognize the role of spontaneously grown institutions, we must admit that actors within the society do not necessarily have to understand the function and purpose of those institutions to benefit from their operation. But, citizens may indeed have to understand and appreciate these spontaneously grown institutions in order for these institutions to be sustained and respected in our modern democratic societies.