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Whistle-Blower Protection: Theory and Experimental Evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Mechtenberg, Lydia

    ()

    (University of Hamburg)

  • Muehlheusser, Gerd

    ()

    (University of Hamburg)

  • Roider, Andreas

    ()

    (University of Regensburg)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10607.

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Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10607
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  1. Schmidt, Matthias, 2005. ""Whistle Blowing" Regulation and Accounting Standards Enforcement in Germany and Europe--An Economic Perspective," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 143-168, June.
  2. Uri Gneezy & Stephan Meier & Pedro Rey-Biel, 2011. "When and Why Incentives (Don't) Work to Modify Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 191-210, Fall.
  3. Alekseev, Aleksandr & Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2017. "Experimental methods: When and why contextual instructions are important," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 48-59.
  4. Steven Kaplan & Joseph Schultz, 2007. "Intentions to Report Questionable Acts: An Examination of the Influence of Anonymous Reporting Channel, Internal Audit Quality, and Setting," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 71(2), pages 109-124, March.
  5. Guido Friebel & Michael Raith, 2004. "Abuse of Authority and Hierarchical Communication," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(2), pages 224-244, Summer.
  6. Marcia Miceli & Janet Near & Terry Dworkin, 2009. "A Word to the Wise: How Managers and Policy-Makers can Encourage Employees to Report Wrongdoing," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 86(3), pages 379-396, May.
  7. Abigail Barr & Danila Serra, 2009. "The effects of externalities and framing on bribery in a petty corruption experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(4), pages 488-503, December.
  8. Yasuyo Hamaguchi & Toshiji Kawagoe, 2005. "An Experimental Study of Leniency Programs," Discussion papers 05003, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  9. Sandeep Kapur, 2009. "An Economic Model of Whistle-Blower Policy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 157-182, May.
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