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Regulating Corporate Criminal Sanctions: Federal Guidelines and the Sentencing of Public Firms

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  • Alexander, Cindy R
  • Arlen, Jennifer
  • Cohen, Mark A

Abstract

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Governing Organizations purport to constrain judicial discretion over corporate criminal penalties. We investigate the effect on courts' sentencing decisions using pre- and post-Guidelines data, including evidence on cases and penalties that the Guidelines do not completely control. We find that fines and total penalties are higher than they were previously. Evidence that fines increased more in Guidelines-constrained cases than elsewhere suggests the effort to constrain judicial discretion has had a direct effect. Evidence of higher total penalties, even in cases not directly constrained by the Guidelines, suggests that judges may have cooperated with the policy of imposing higher fines and total sanctions, although not to the extent that the Guidelines prescribe. Our findings are inconsistent with the basic attitudinal model from the political science literature. We explore other forces that may be at work. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 393-422

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:1:p:393-422

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Nuno Garoupa, 2000. "Corporate criminal law and organization incentives: a managerial perspective," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 243-252.
  2. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, . "Race, Poverty, and American Tort Awards: Evidence from Three Datasets," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-29, Claremont Colleges.
  3. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Competitive pressure and corporate crime," DICE Discussion Papers 110, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  4. Piquero, Nicole Leeper & Davis, Jason L., 2004. "Extralegal factors and the sentencing of organizational defendants: An examination of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 643-654.
  5. Paolo Polidori & Désirée Teobaldelli, 2012. "Corporate Criminal Liability and Optimal Behavior by Firms.Internal Monitoring Devices versus Managerial Incentives," Working Papers 1216, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2012.

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