Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The History and Evolution of Corporate Criminality

29 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2007  

Osvaldo Vazquez

Harvard Law School

Date Written: 04/05/07


This article traces the evolution of corporate wrongdoing in the United States, focusing on the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. A study of courts' and scholars' approach to the problem of promoting economic interests while ensuring that corporate power was not abused is instructive in analyzing current proposals to regulate or punish public corporations. Historically, courts faced doctrinal and practical issues in addressing corporate wrongdoers: in addition to the doctrinal difficulties attached to punishing what is essentially a legal fiction, the needs and wishes of American society (which alternately embraces and attacks corporations) pushed courts to approach the problem in creative ways.

Keywords: Legal History, Criminal Law, Corporations

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Vazquez, Osvaldo, The History and Evolution of Corporate Criminality (04/05/07). Available at SSRN: or

Osvaldo Vazquez (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views