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Do they do it for the money?

Author

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  • Bhattacharya, Utpal
  • Marshall, Cassandra D.

Abstract

Using a sample of all top management who were indicted for illegal insider trading in the United States for trades during the period 1989–2002, we explore the economic rationality of this white-collar crime. If this crime is an economically rational activity in the sense of Becker (1968), where a crime is committed if its expected benefits exceed its expected costs, “poorer” top management should be doing the most illegal insider trading. This is because the “poor” have less to lose (present value of foregone future compensation if caught is lower for them). We find in the data, however, that indictments are concentrated in the “richer” strata after we control for firm size, industry, firm growth opportunities, executive age, the opportunity to commit illegal insider trading, and the possibility that regulators target the “richer” strata. We thus rule out the economic motive for this white-collar crime, and leave open the possibility of other motives.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhattacharya, Utpal & Marshall, Cassandra D., 2012. "Do they do it for the money?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 92-104.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:18:y:2012:i:1:p:92-104
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2011.11.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karpoff, Jonathan M. & Scott Lee, D. & Martin, Gerald S., 2008. "The consequences to managers for financial misrepresentation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 193-215, May.
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    3. Murphy, Kevin J., 2003. "Stock-based pay in new economy firms," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-3), pages 129-147, January.
    4. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2009. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 435-480, January.
    5. Agrawal, Anup & Jaffe, Jeffrey F & Karpoff, Jonathan M, 1999. "Management Turnover and Governance Changes following the Revelation of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 309-342, April.
    6. Meulbroek, Lisa K, 1992. " An Empirical Analysis of Illegal Insider Trading," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1661-1699, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Haß, Lars Helge & Müller, Maximilian A. & Vergauwe, Skrålan, 2015. "Tournament incentives and corporate fraud," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 251-267.
    2. Kallunki, Juha-Pekka & Mikkonen, Jenni & Nilsson, Henrik & Setterberg, Hanna, 2016. "Tax noncompliance and insider trading," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 157-173.
    3. Agrawal, Anup & Nasser, Tareque, 2012. "Insider trading in takeover targets," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 598-625.
    4. Ordu, Umut & Schweizer, Denis, 2015. "Executive compensation and informed trading in acquiring firms around merger announcements," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 260-280.
    5. Cumming, Douglas & Dannhauser, Robert & Johan, Sofia, 2015. "Financial market misconduct and agency conflicts: A synthesis and future directions," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 150-168.
    6. repec:eee:pacfin:v:48:y:2018:i:c:p:17-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Agrawal, Anup & Cooper, Tommy, 2015. "Insider trading before accounting scandals," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 169-190.
    8. Hillier, David & Korczak, Adriana & Korczak, Piotr, 2015. "The impact of personal attributes on corporate insider trading," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 150-167.
    9. Millicent Chang & Yilin Lim, 2016. "Late Disclosure of Insider Trades: Who Does It and Why?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 519-531, February.
    10. Chang, Millicent & Watson, Iain, 2015. "Delayed disclosure of insider trades: Incentives for and indicators of future performance?," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 35(PA), pages 182-197.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    White-collar crime; Insider trading; SEC enforcement; CEO compensation;

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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