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Whistle-Blower Protection: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Mechtenberg, Lydia
  • Muehlheusser, Gerd
  • Roider, Andreas

Abstract

Whistle-blowing by employees plays a major role in uncovering corporate fraud. Various recent laws aim at improving protection of whistle-blowers and enhancing their willingness to report. Evidence on the effectiveness of such legislation is, however, scarce. Moreover, critics have raised worries about fraudulent claims by low-productivity employees. We study these issues in a theory-guided lab experiment. Easily attainable ("belief-based") protection indeed leads to more reports, both truthful and fraudulent. Fraudulent claims dilute prosecutors' incentives to investigate, and thereby hamper deterrence. These effects are ameliorated under more stringent ("fact-based") protection.

Suggested Citation

  • Mechtenberg, Lydia & Muehlheusser, Gerd & Roider, Andreas, 2017. "Whistle-Blower Protection: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 11898, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11898
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    Cited by:

    1. Mechtenberg, Lydia & Muehlheusser, Gerd & Roider, Andreas, 2020. "Whistleblower protection: Theory and experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    2. Armenak Antinyan & Luca Corazzini & Filippo Pavesi, 2018. "What Matters for Whistleblowing on Tax Evaders? Survey and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 07/2018, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    3. Paolo Buccirossi & Giovanni Immordino & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2021. "Whistleblower rewards, false reports, and corporate fraud," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 411-431, June.
    4. Bodnar, Olivia & Fremerey, Melinda & Normann, Hans-Theo & Schad, Jannika Leonie, 2021. "The effects of private damage claims on cartel activity: Experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 315, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. Guerra, Alice & Zhuravleva, Tatyana, 2021. "Do bystanders react to bribery?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 442-462.
    6. Antinyan, Armenak & Corazzini, Luca & Pavesi, Filippo, 2020. "Does trust in the government matter for whistleblowing on tax evaders? Survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 77-95.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business Ethics; Cheap-Talk Games; Corporate Fraud; Corruption; Lab Experiment; Whistle-Blowing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • M59 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Other

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