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Social Reactions to White-Collar Crimes and their Relationship to Economic Crises

Economic Crisis and Crime

ISBN: 978-0-85724-801-5, eISBN: 978-0-85724-802-2

ISSN: 1521-6136

Publication date: 24 June 2011


A number of approaches might be taken to the relationship between economic crises and white-collar crimes. One is to review the role that white-collar crimes played in causing economic crisis, but this is legally problematic. This chapter begins with a discussion of social reaction to different forms of white-collar crime, and then goes on to examine briefly the evidence for the impact of the economic crisis on levels of frauds. The core argument is that the economic crisis did affect social and official reaction to some frauds – though the impact of this may be temporary – but that unlike most “law and order” issues, politicians around the world have typically downplayed fears of elite criminality and serious misconduct. Most reactions to white-collar crime reflect longer-term populist sentiments that prioritize offenses such as identity theft and fraud. Furthermore, there is little evidence that the Global Financial Crisis did much to increase the risk of fraud, though it is easy to misattribute the revelation of longer-running frauds to the crisis instead of to the fact that the recession smoked them out of the woodwork.


Levi, M. (2011), "Social Reactions to White-Collar Crimes and their Relationship to Economic Crises", Deflem, M. (Ed.) Economic Crisis and Crime (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 87-105.



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