Choosing White-Collar Crime

Neal Shover, Andy Hochstetler and Tage Alalehto

in The Oxford Handbook of Criminological Theory

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747238
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Choosing White-Collar Crime

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  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Theories of Crime
  • Corporate Crime


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In Western countries such as the United States, crime is viewed as chosen behavior. This assumption emerged as the dominant theoretical underpinning of crime control policy-making in the decades encompassing the dawn of the twenty-first century. Routine activity theory is a good example of how contemporary criminological scholars have been drawn to choice models of criminal behavior. The notion of crime as choice also underlies many, if not most, contemporary interpretations of white-collar crime. For instance, theoretical explanations in which the causal importance of variation in criminal opportunities is stressed are based on choice models. Crime-as-choice theory overlaps but is not coextensive with rational choice theory; it differs mainly from the latter by not incorporating an assumption a priori that criminal choices are rational. This article applies the concepts and logic of crime-as-choice theory to explain variation in white-collar crime.

Keywords: white-collar crime; criminal behavior; crime-as-choice theory; criminal choices; routine activity theory; choice models

Article.  8091 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Theories of Crime ; Corporate Crime

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