Public perceptions of white-collar crime and punishment

Kristy Holtfreter, Shanna Van Slyke, Jason Bratton, Marc Gertz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Although financial losses from white-collar crime continue to exceed those of street crime, the criminal justice system has traditionally focused on the latter. Past research suggested that citizens are more likely to support punitive sanctions for street offenders than white-collar offenders. Recent corporate scandals have increased public awareness of white-collar crime, but whether public attitudes have been altered remains to be determined. Using a 2005 national sample of 402 telephone survey participants, the current study examined citizen perceptions of white-collar and street crime, as well as attitudes regarding apprehension and punishment. This research extended prior studies by also considering the influence of sociodemographic characteristics as well as perceptions of white-collar crime and punishment on the public's support for increasing resource allocation. Implications for future research and development of more effective white-collar crime control policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-60
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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