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Who Blows the Whistle on Corporate Fraud?

68 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2007 Last revised: 14 Sep 2010

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)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2007

Abstract

What external control mechanisms are most effective in detecting corporate fraud? To address this question we study in depth all reported cases of corporate fraud in companies with more than 750 million dollars in assets between 1996 and 2004. We find that fraud detection does not rely on one single mechanism, but on a wide range of, often improbable, actors. Only 6% of the frauds are revealed by the SEC and 14% by the auditors. More important monitors are media (14%), industry regulators (16%), and employees (19%). Before SOX, only 35% of the cases were discovered by actors with an explicit mandate. After SOX, the performance of mandated actors improved, but still account for only slightly more than 50% of the cases. We find that monetary incentives for detection in frauds against the government influence detection without increasing frivolous suits, suggesting gains from extending such incentives to corporate fraud more generally.

Suggested Citation

Dyck, I. J. Alexander and Morse, Adair and Zingales, Luigi, Who Blows the Whistle on Corporate Fraud? (February 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w12882. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=961803

I.J. Alexander 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

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 (Contact Author)

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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