Myths and Numbers on Whistleblower Rewards

32 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Theo Nyreröd

Theo Nyreröd

EconAnalysis AB

Giancarlo Spagnolo

Stockholm School of Economics (SITE); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Rome 'Tor Vergata'; EIEF

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2018


Whistleblower rewards have been used extensively in the US to limit procurement fraud and tax evasion, and their use has been extended to fight financial fraud after the recent financial crisis. There is currently a debate on their possible introduction in Europe, but authorities there appear considerably less enthusiastic than their US counterparts. While it is important that these tools are scrutinized in a lively democratic debate, many things have been written - even by important institutional players - that have no empirical backing or that are in open contrast to the available evidence from independent research. In this paper we review some of the most debated issues regarding the potential benefits and costs of financial incentives for whistleblowers, while trying to separate existing evidence from conjectures with no empirical support, and myths in contrast to available evidence.

Keywords: Corruption, Financial incentives, fraud, law enforcement, retaliation, tax evasion, whistleblower protection, Whistleblower rewards

JEL Classification: G38, K20, K42, L40, M41

Suggested Citation

Nyreröd, Theo and Spagnolo, Giancarlo, Myths and Numbers on Whistleblower Rewards (May 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12957. Available at SSRN:

Theo Nyreröd (Contact Author)

EconAnalysis AB ( email )


Giancarlo Spagnolo

Stockholm School of Economics (SITE) ( email )

P.O. Box 6501

HOME PAGE: http://

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

University of Rome 'Tor Vergata' ( email )

Faculty of Economics - DEI
Via Columbia 2
Rome, RM 00133

EIEF ( email )

Via Due Macelli, 73
Rome, 00187


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