Controversial Research Paper: “White Collar Crime” – 20 Topics to Pay Attention To

Topics and ideas
Posted on June 24, 2016

Writing a research paper on any topic is a daunting task and it becomes more so when you have to create your own topic from the subject matter provided by your teacher as well as set the creative direction of the paper. Therefore, this article was written to provide direction on choosing research topics on white collar crime. Also the sample essay below should serve as your manual or tutorial guide on developing a selected topic in such a way that ensures your paper turns out well structured, coherent and rewards you the best mark for your effort.

Today’s guide will contain a couple of things which include: 20 topics on white collar crime and its effects on society that you can use for your own paper, and a sample essay on how to structure the contents of your chosen topic:

  1. Crimes of Privilege: White Collar Crime and the 1 Percent
  2. Corporate Crime, Law and Social Control
  3. Drawing Parallels between Corporate Crime and Organized Crime
  4. Corporate Crime and the Criminal Liabilities of Corporate Entities
  5. White Collar Crime and the Major Financial Debacles in the United States
  6. Corporate Crime and It’s Role in Economic Depressions
  7. Pursuing Accountability: How Prosecutors Should Punish White Collar Crime Offenders
  8. Corporate Crime and Sentencing in the United States
  9. Economics and Organized Crime: Challenges for Criminal Justice
  10. Impact of Corporate Crime on Developing Capital Markets
  11. The Sociological Origins of White Collar Crime
  12. Sentencing Disparities between White Collar Crimes and Street Crimes
  13. Gender and the Part it Plays in White Collar Crimes
  14. The Global implications of White Collar Crimes
  15. Exploring White Collar Crimes and its Causes
  16. Analyzing White Collar Crimes in Wall Street
  17. Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society
  18. The Social Acceptability of White Collar Crime in the United States
  19. The Governments Role in White Collar Crime
  20. The Department of Justice’s culpability in White Collar Crimes

So here are the 20 topics we believe should inspire and get you started on developing your custom research paper on corporate crime. These topics which are obviously controversial in nature have enough information that can be found online or in your local library, to make developing them relatively easy. To back them up, as always we’ve also prepared 10 facts on white collar crime for a research essay as well as our guide on how to write one step by step.

As stated earlier, a sample paper which should serve as a template for anyone planning to write about white collar crimes will be provided in this guide. The topic to be explored and used in this sample research paper has been picked from the above list and it is, ‘Sentencing Disparities between White Collar Crimes and Street Crimes’.

Sample Research Paper: Sentencing Disparities between White Collar Crimes and Street Crimes

To clarify the sentencing issues that arise, it is important to first understand the distinction between white collar crime and street crime according to the United States Department of Justice system. According to Edwin Sutherland, a prominent 1939 criminologist, white collar crimes or corporate crimes are financially motivated nonviolent crimes committed by business and government professionals. Street crimes on the other hand, are criminal offences that occur in public places and perpetrated for quick financial gain.

In both situations, the underlying cause for perpetrating criminal activities is financial gain although the means of erring against the law may vary. According to the FBI, in white collar crimes perpetrators make use of deceit, concealment and violation of trust to accomplish the crime while perpetrators of street crime employ violence, threats and the inspiration of fear for financial gain.

Although both cases the white collar and street crimes are driven by financial gain, statistics from the Department of Justice show that while perpetrators of white collar crimes make up approximately 3% of arrests and street crimes make up for 70% of arrests in the United States, the sentencing proportion is highly skewed in the favor of white collar crimes. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Prisons show that only 0.3% of those incarcerated were involved in white collar crimes while 93.7% of incarcerations were due to street crimes.

Further analysis of the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) guidelines show a pattern of less severe sentencing pattern for white collar crimes, namely perpetrators of financial fraud such as insider trading simply receiving fines, community service or in more severe cases suspended jail time. In contrast, perpetrators of non-violent street crimes do not evade prison and are pushed to serve a prison sentence. Jet Rakoff, a federal senior judge of Southern New York were Wall Street crimes had occurred, termed the Federal sentencing guides as too simplistic, leading to no incarceration of high-level executives charged with corporate crime.

Various reasons have been given for these sentencing disparities and they include: the non-violent nature of corporate crimes, the lack of adequate media coverage and conspiracy theories on the power and reach of high level executives.  In terms of non-violence, the widely accepted belief that corporate crime is non-violent has been disproven due to the high number of suicides and work related accidents that occur as a byproduct of financial recklessness and the 2015 USSC guidelines has finally taken this into consideration.

The media has been accused of hypocrisy in its coverage of corporate crime on the diverse channels of news dispersion platforms available to them. This is in part due to securing their best interest, for most news outlets are owned or part-owned by big corporations. An example was the lack of media coverage on JPMorgan Chase’s criminal securities fraud case  were Jamie Dimon,  its CEO,  paid approximately $9 billion to evade scrutiny.

Encouragingly, steps have been taken to ensure that perpetrators of white collar crimes pay for their actions as can be seen from the 2015 USSC guidelines which encourage increased sentences for individuals involved in cases of large scale fraud. The 9 years prison sentence given to Matthew Martoma for insider trading while working at SAC Capital Advisors has created a precedence for longer jail terms and it could serve as a deterrence to others.

Russel, M. (2008). Soft on Crime.
Wikipedia: The Savings and Loan Crisis.
Rebekah, D. (2011). US White Collar Crime Policy too Soft.

Gale Research. (2008). Crime, Prisons and Jails.
Nicel, A. (2013). When the Gender Gap is a Good Thing: Women and Corporate Crime.
FBI National Press Office. (2002). The Measurement of White Collar Crime Using Uniform Crime Reporting Data.
Understanding White Collar Crime: Definitions, Extents and Consequences.

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