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How Pervasive is Corporate Fraud?

56 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2013  

I. J. Alexander Dyck

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Adair Morse

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: February 22, 2013

Abstract

We estimate what percentage of firms engage in fraud and the economic cost of fraud. Our estimates are based on detected frauds, and frauds that we infer are started but are not caught. To identify the ‘iceberg’ of undetected fraud we take advantage of an exogenous shock to the incentives for fraud detection: Arthur Andersen’s demise, which forces companies to change auditors. By assuming that the new auditor will clean house, and examining the change in fraud detection by new auditors, we infer that the probability of a company engaging in a fraud in any given year is 14.5%. We validate the magnitude of this estimate using alternative methods. We estimate that on average corporate fraud costs investors 22 percent of enterprise value in fraud-committing firms and 3 percent of enterprise value across all firms.

Keywords: corporate fraud, governance, detection

JEL Classification: G34, K22, G38

Suggested Citation

Dyck, I. J. Alexander and Morse, Adair and Zingales, Luigi, How Pervasive is Corporate Fraud? (February 22, 2013). Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2222608. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2222608 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2222608

I.J. Dyck

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S 3E6
Canada
416-946-0819 (Phone)

Adair Morse (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Luigi Zingales

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-3196 (Phone)
773-834-2081 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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