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Forensic Finance

  • Jay R. Ritter

During popular prime-time television shows, forensic investigators use specialized but wide-ranging scientific knowledge of chemical trace evidence, bacteria, DNA, teeth, insects, and other specialties to collect and sift evidence of possible crimes. In economics and finance, forensic investigators apply their own specialized knowledge of prices, quantities, timing, and market institutions -- and sometimes discover or substantiate evidence that is used by regulatory or criminal enforcement agencies. In this article, I will discuss four recent topics in forensic finance, all of which have attracted media attention: 1) the late trading of mutual funds, 2) stock option backdating, 3) the allocation of underpriced initial public offerings to corporate executives, and 4) changes in the records of stock analyst recommendations. In most of these cases, once certain practices or patterns have been publicized, financial industry practice has changed.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.22.3.127
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 127-47

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:3:p:127-47
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.22.3.127
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Yermack, David, 1997. " Good Timing: CEO Stock Option Awards and Company News Announcements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 449-76, June.
  2. Zitzewitz Eric W, 2009. "Prosecutorial Discretion in Mutual Fund Settlement Negotiations, 2003-7," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-42, June.
  3. Zitzewitz, Eric, 2003. "How Widespread Is Late Trading in Mutual Funds?," Research Papers 1817, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  4. Goetzmann, William N. & Ivković, Zoran & Rouwenhorst, K. Geert, 2001. "Day Trading International Mutual Funds: Evidence and Policy Solutions," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(03), pages 287-309, September.
  5. Rahul Bhargava & Ann Bose & David A. Dubofsky, 1998. "Exploiting International Stock Market Correlations with Open-end International Mutual Funds," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(5&6), pages 765-773.
  6. Eric Zitzewitz, 2003. "Who Cares About Shareholders? Arbitrage-Proofing Mutual Funds," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 245-280, October.
  7. Alexander Ljungqvist & Christopher Malloy & Felicia Marston, 2009. "Rewriting History," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1935-1960, 08.
  8. William G. Christie & Paul H. Schultz, 1995. "Policy Watch: Did Nasdaq Market Makers Implicitly Collude?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 199-208, Summer.
  9. Tim Loughran & Jay Ritter, 2004. "Why Has IPO Underpricing Changed Over Time?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 33(3), Fall.
  10. Heron, Randall A. & Lie, Erik, 2007. "Does backdating explain the stock price pattern around executive stock option grants?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 271-295, February.
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