Only banal generalizations are possible in answer to questions of who engages in white collar crime and why. Doubt is cast on the common assertion that firms in financial difficulty are more likely to offend than profitable ones. Qualitative studies of how white collar offenses are perpetrated and how regulatory agencies seek to control offenses constitute the most illuminating part of the literature. This literature depicts consistent pressure for blame for white collar crime to be passed downwards in the class structure, widespread use of international law evasion strategies, and a preference of control agencies for informal, “direct action” modes of social control over litigious regulation. The thesis that the latter reflects “capture” by ruling class interests is critically examined. It is contended that community attitudes toward white collar crime have become increasingly punitive. The review concludes that theoretical progress is most likely via organization theory paradigms, but that partition of white collar crime into “corporate (or organizational) crime” and “occupational crime” is necessary to facilitate such progress.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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