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An Economic Model of Whistle-Blower Policy

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  • Sandeep Kapur

Abstract

"Whistle-blowing" is an increasingly common element of regulatory enforcement programs and one that is encouraged by recent legislation in the United States and elsewhere. We examine how responsive regulators should be to whistle-blower tip-offs and how severe should penalties be for wrongdoers detected in this way. Competing psychological theories as to what motivates employees to become whistle-blowers are operationalized as alternative behavioral heuristics. Optimal policy depends upon the motives attributed to whistle-blowers--which of the theories you subscribe to--but is not in general characterized by maximal penalties nor routine pursuit of complaints, even when pursuit is costless. (JEL K42, K32) The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 25 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 157-182

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:25:y:2009:i:1:p:157-182

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Cited by:
  1. Hilary Sigman, 2010. "Monitoring and Enforcement of Climate Policy," Departmental Working Papers 201006, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Villena, Mauricio G. & Villena, Marcelo J., 2010. "On the economics of whistle-blowing behavior: the role of incentives," MPRA Paper 35917, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Mar 2010.
  3. Arce, Daniel G., 2010. "Corporate virtue: Treatment of whistle blowers and the punishment of violators," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 363-371, September.
  4. Goeschl, Timo & J├╝rgens, Ole, 2012. "Explaining uniformity in rule design: The role of citizen participation in enforcement," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 166-177.

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