Gender and Twenty-First-Century Corporate Crime: Female Involvement and the Gender Gap in Enron-Era Corporate Frauds

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Abstract

We extend the scarce research on corporate crime to include gender by developing and testing a gendered focal concerns and crime opportunities framework that predicts minimal and marginal female involvement in corporate criminal networks. Lacking centralized information, we developed a rich database covering 83 corporate frauds involving 436 defendants. We extracted information from indictments and secondary sources on corporate conspiracy networks (e.g., co-conspirator roles, company positions, and distribution of profit). Findings support the gendered paradigm. Typically, women were not part of conspiracy groups. When women were involved, they had more minor roles and made less profit than their male co-conspirators. Two main pathways defined female involvement: relational (close personal relationship with a main male co-conspirator) and utility (occupied a financial-gateway corporate position). Paralleling gendered labor market segmentation processes that limit and shape women's entry into economic roles, sex segregation in corporate criminality is pervasive, suggesting only subtle shifts in gender socialization and women's opportunities for significant white-collar crimes. Our findings do not comport with images of highly placed or powerful white-collar female criminals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-476
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican sociological review
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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