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The Collection Gap: Underenforcement of Corporate and White-Collar Fines and Penalties

74 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2011  

Martin H. Pritikin

Whittier Law School

Ezra Ross

UCLA School of Law


Civil and criminal monetary sanctions (fines, penalties, and restitution orders) are primary tools in the enforcement activities of the modern administrative state, particularly in the context of corporate wrongdoing. Although the enforcement literature debates the fairness and efficiency of imposing corporate sanctions, once imposed, those sanctions must be collected to be effective. Yet federal and state agencies are leaving untold billions in collectible fines unrecovered. This is a problem of both theoretical and practical importance, yet it has been largely overlooked. This Article, for the first time, amasses the evidence of pervasive governmental undercollection; rebuts the argument that the problem is due to factors beyond governmental control; examines the root causes of undercollection; and recommends solutions that address the political and economic circumstances that impede reform.

Suggested Citation

Pritikin, Martin H. and Ross, Ezra, The Collection Gap: Underenforcement of Corporate and White-Collar Fines and Penalties. Yale Law & Policy Review, Vol. 29, p. 453, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Martin Pritikin (Contact Author)

Whittier Law School ( email )

3333 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
United States

Ezra Ross

UCLA School of Law ( email )

Box 951476
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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