Akratic Corporations and Dysfunctional Markets

Virginia Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 1 (2013)

MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-04

14 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2014 Last revised: 11 Apr 2014

See all articles by Adam Candeub

Adam Candeub

Michigan State University - College of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Manuel Utset examines the effect of criminal sanction on corporate actors with time inconsistent ("TI") preferences. He argues that traditional approaches to deterrence will under-deter these corporate actors and argues for higher levels of sanction. My contribution to Utset' s interesting and important research starts with three observations. First, the market economy places on TI corporate actors dynamic pressures that differ from those human actors face. Corporate actors with TI preferences face a competitive disadvantage relative to their competitors with TC preferences. Thus, unlike TI human actors, TI offenders' competitive disadvantages make "capital" punishment through acquisition or bankruptcy quite real — rendering unnecessary the additional sanctions that Utset suggests. Second, market failure or inefficient agency/institutional structure, on one hand, and TI preferring behavior, on the other, are difficult to disentangle. Firms may appear to have time-inconsistent preferences when they are, in fact, consistently responding to market failures. Third, akratic tendencies often excuse or partially excuse in the criminal law applicable to human subjects. Utset, on the other hand, argues for increasing punishment so as to deter the akratic corporate actor.

Suggested Citation

Candeub, Adam, Akratic Corporations and Dysfunctional Markets (2013). Virginia Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 1 (2013), MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2414410

Adam Candeub (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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