Regulating Corporate Criminal Sanctions: Federal Guidelines and the Sentencing of Public Firms
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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- Kessler, Daniel P & Piehl, Anne Morrison, 1998.
"The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System,"
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization,
Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 256-76, October.
- Daniel P. Kessler & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1997. "The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System," NBER Working Papers 6261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alexander, Cindy R, 1999. "On the Nature of the Reputational Penalty for Corporate Crime: Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 489-526, April.
- Karpoff, Jonathan M & Lott, John R, Jr, 1993. "The Reputational Penalty Firms Bear from Committing Criminal Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 757-802, October.
- Alexander, Cindy R. & Cohen, Mark A., 1999. "Why do corporations become criminals? Ownership, hidden actions, and crime as an agency cost," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-34, March.
- Upadhyaya, Kamal P. & Raymond, Jeannie E. & Mixon, Franklin Jr., 1997. "The economic theory of regulation versus alternative theories for the electric utilities industry: A simultaneous probit model," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 191-202, August.
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