Structural predictors of embezzlement: A preliminary analysis

Academic Article


  • One objective of studying white-collar crime is to improve theorizing about crime in general. Despite this objective, there are few studies that allow for comparison of street-level crime and its white-collar counterpart even in core areas of criminological investigation. Studies of structural predictors of street-level crime in U.S. cities, states, and metropolitan areas are abundant. However, similar studies of white-collar crime do not exist, largely due to the failure of government agencies to collect and disseminate accurate data on white-collar offenses. This empirical absence is especially glaring given the theoretical importance assigned to economic motivation by theorists of white-collar offending. In this paper, we emulate typical aggregate studies of structural correlates of violent and property crime to examine rates of embezzlement in metropolitan areas with available data for 1990. Findings indicate that many structural variables that are consistently and positively related to street-level crime have no relationship to embezzlement. Percent of divorced males and percent of families in poverty are the only significant predictors of the workplace crime of embezzlement. We speculate that these measures of economic hardship and low social cohesion significantly predict embezzlement because these conditions directly impact a large segment of the population in an area including workers who have the opportunity to embezzle. © 2002, Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  • Authors

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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hochstetler A; Kerley KR; Mason K
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 22
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 1