Perceptions of white-collar crime registries

Published date18 June 2021
Date18 June 2021
Subject MatterAccounting & finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
AuthorJill O. Jasperson,Thomas E. Dearden,Ronald Mellado Miller
Perceptions of white-collar
crime registries
Jill O. Jasperson
Department of Organizational Leadership,
Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA
Thomas E. Dearden
Department of Sociology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, and
Ronald Mellado Miller
Department of Strategic Management and Operations,
Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA
Purpose In 2015, Utah enacted the f‌irst white-collar crime (WCC) registry. Similar to sex offender
registries, this registry provides demographic information to the public. Utahs law includes convicted
offenders of second-degree feloniesfor a variety of non-violent, f‌inancial crimes,including securities fraud,
insurance fraud and theft by deception (H.B. 378, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to examine the
perceptionsof this new registry.
Design/methodology/approach A survey was built in 2016 to better understand the perceptionsof
said WCC registry. This paperconsiders the relationships between demographic variables,fear of crime and
supportfor Utahs WCC registry using data from over 968 university students in Utah.
Findings The authors f‌ind strong support for the registry, with 76% of the sample supporting its
implementation.Only one variable, social political aff‌iliation, was signif‌icant.Those who def‌ined themselves
as social strong liberals were more likely to select somewhat support rather than def‌initely support the
Originality/value This is the f‌irst paper thatwe know of to examine support for a WCC registry.
Keywords White-collar crime, Crime policy, Offender registries
Paper type Research paper
Sutherland (1940) was the f‌irst to introduce and research the concept of white-collar crime
(WCC). Since his work, and initial def‌inition,there is still disagreement within the literature
regarding the concept (Simpson, 2013). Sutherland (1940) initially developed an offender-
based perspective, choosing to focus on the individual characteristics of offenders and the
contexts in which offenses occurred. Simpson (2013) argued that Sutherland (1949) further
muddied the waters by shifting the level of analysis from the individual to the company
level. Despite confusion in the literature, this shift ref‌lected the complex and evolutionary
qualities of WCC.
Over the years, researcherspresented variations of, and change to Sutherlands (1940 and
1949) original def‌initions of WCC. The variations concerned the inf‌luence of power and
motivation on WCC (Reiss and Tonry, 1993) and typological approaches to WCC (Clinnard,
1967) that resulted in the conceptualization of both corporate and occupational variants of
WCC (Clinnard and Quinney, 1973).Researchers continued their work and developed reif‌ied
components of the Sutherlandsdef‌inition of WCC (1940). Despite the fervent exploration of
the concept in the literature, Simpson (2013) argued that this activity distracted from any
Perceptions of
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.29 No. 2, 2022
pp. 639-652
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-03-2021-0075
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