Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Sociology and Anthropology
White-collar crime is on the rise in the United States and globally. The general public has historically been seen as apathetic to white-collar criminals and their crimes; however more recent studies have shown that prior conclusions on perceptions of white-collar criminals may have been inaccurate. In this paper, I examine the role that occupation has in forming perceptions of white-collar criminals. Using Status Characteristics Theory, a structural social psychological theory that links an individual's status characteristics to evaluations of their morality, trustworthiness and competency, vignette experiments are constructed that allow for offender status and offense seriousness in various white collar crime scenarios to be studied. The research finds that occupation as a status characteristic does exist and has an impact on criminal perceptions, but its effect is diminished when offense seriousness is also taken into consideration.
Schmidt, Marshall, "White Collar Crime and Morality: How Occupation Shapes Perception" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 422.