White-Collar Crime – Social Perception and Moral Attitudes
Purpose: The paper explains whether and to what extent the attitudes of Poles towards various types of white collar crimes are varied. The scope and type of social and demographic characteristics determining these attitudes are also examined. Approach/Methodology/Design: The results come from an empirical study based on a representative sample of adult Poles conducted by computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). The subject of statistical analyzes encompass the following three complementary issues: assessment of the location of white-collar crimes (perceived intensity in the public sector and in the private sector), evaluation of white-collar crimes against other crimes (comparative analysis), moral attitudes towards particular manifestations of white-collar crimes (16 types of crimes) and examination of social and demographical factors determining positive attitudes towards white-collar crimes collars (regression analysis). Findings: Most Poles treat criminal acts arbitrarily – according to them, they are just as reprehensible, regardless of who commits them or what the motives are. But statistically significant part of respondents require of higher moral standards towards representatives of public authorities than with other entities in the white-collar crime context. White-collar crimes are almost unanimously condemned by the majority of Poles (9 out of 10 respondents express condemnation). The disturbing phenomenon of social consent to the following four types of white collar crime has been observed and explained: wash trade, fictitious business activity, insider trading, tax fraud. Partial consent and acceptance of white-collar crimes are not evenly distributed throughout society, but is focused on young people, mostly men, having secular views, financially well off, with broad centrist political views. Identification of a specific social group allows for awareness-raising, educational and remedial activities. Practical Implications: Identification of a specific social group, which accepts the crime of white collars to a greater extent than other groups, allows the indication of who can be used awareness-raising, educational and remedial activities. Originality/Value: This is the first study on moral attitudes towards white-collar crime undertaken since the introduction of extensive changes in criminal law, which exacerbated the penalization of economic crimes, including white-collar crimes.