White-Collar Crime: An Opportunity Perspective, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

White-Collar Crime

An Opportunity Perspective, 3rd Edition

By Michael L. Benson, Sally S. Simpson


276 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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White-Collar Crime: An Opportunity Perspective analyzes white-collar crime within a coherent theoretical framework. Using the opportunity perspective, which assumes that all crimes depend on offenders recognizing an opportunity to commit an offense, the authors uncover the processes and situational conditions that facilitate white-collar crimes. In addition, they offer potential solutions to this persistent and widespread social problem without being reductive in their treatment of the difficulties of control.

With this third edition, Benson and Simpson have added substantive online teaching materials and expanded their coverage with up-to-date case studies and discussions of recent investigations into white-collar crime and control. These timely updates reaffirm this accessible and rigorous book as a core resource for courses on white-collar crime.


'For its theoretical richness and concomitant applicability to prevent and control white-collar crime at both policy and organizational levels, this white-collar crime textbook is unmatched…It provides a thoroughly researched, empirically-based text that successfully employs a key white-collar crime theoretical approach to studying and combatting corporate crime.'Danielle McGurrin, Portland State University, USA

'The book’s chief virtue is that it deals with an extremely complex area of study straightforwardly and succinctly. It outlines the key theories and explains the industrial and business context surrounding the crimes it discusses very well. It has up-to-date examples. It does all of this while advancing its own unique theoretical perspective.'Luca Follis, Lancaster University, UK

'Benson and Simpson’s new edition is most welcome. The authors recognize that white-collar crime changes shape over time but their opportunity model is well able to account for that change. Their theoretical model also leads to important insights into the nature of white-collar crime and possible controls over that behavior.'Robert F. Meier, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA

'Unlike the ‘volume crimes’ and illicit markets that are the normal focus of studies seeking to understand the nature of criminal opportunities, Benson and Simpson have for some years now innovatively and systematically developed an ‘opportunity perspective’ for understanding the ‘how’ of white-collar crimes. Opportunities do not mean that white-collar crimes will happen; they are a necessary but not sufficient condition. But the authors again make a compelling case for analyses of the structures of opportunities to be a fundamental element of explanatory models of white-collar crime.'Nicholas Lord, University of Manchester, UK

'The new instructor support materials for the 3rd edition are very helpful. In my opinion, through its comprehensive and approachable coverage of the many issues surrounding white-collar crime (definitional, measurement, types, responses, etc), this book is the best textbook among the dozens of them on the market.' Arlen Egley, Jr., Assistant Professor, Department of Justice Systems, Truman State University

'Benson and Simpson interweave rich descriptions and research findings to tell an easily accessible story about the role of opportunity structures in the commission and control of white-collar crime. Their thoughtful overview offers important insights for future white-collar crime scholarship and an understandable entry point for students new to the topic. It is a must-read!'Carole Gibbs, Michigan State University, USA

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition

Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition


Part I—White-Collar Crime: Introduction and Overview

Chapter 1 – What Is White-Collar Crime

Chapter 2 – Who is the White-Collar Offender

Part II—Criminological Theory and the Opportunity Perspective

Chapter 3 – Explaining White-Collar Crime: Traditional Criminological Theories

Chapter 4 – Explaining White-Collar Crime: The Opportunity Perspective

Part III—Applying the Opportunity Perspective to White-Collar Crime

Chapter 5 – Financial Crimes in Health Care, Mortgages, Securities, and Markets

Chapter 6 – Corporate Violence: Environmental, Workplace, and Manufacturing Offenses

Part IV—The Symbolic Construction and Social Distribution of Opportunities

Chapter 7 – The Symbolic Construction of Opportunity: Neutralization, Moral Disengagement, and Normalization of Deviance

Chapter 8 – The Social Distribution of Opportunity: Class, Gender, and Race

Part V—Control, Prevention, and the Future of White-Collar Crime

Chapter 9 – Legal Controls: The Criminal Justice, Regulatory, and Civil Justice Systems

Chapter 10 – Opportunities and Situational Prevention of White-Collar Crime: Using Legal and Extralegal Controls

Chapter 11 – Opportunities and the Future of White-Collar Crime



About the Authors

Michael L. Benson is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. He has published extensively on white-collar and corporate crime in leading journals, including Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, and Social Problems. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology and a former President of the White-Collar Crime Research Consortium of the National White-Collar Crime Research Center, and the 2017 recipient of the Gilbert Geis Lifetime Achievement Award from the Division on White-Collar and Corporate Crime of the American Society of Criminology. He received the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems Division on Crime and Juvenile Delinquency for his book, Combating Corporate Crime: Local Prosecutors at Work. In 2016, he co-edited The Oxford Handbook on White-Collar Crime with Shanna R. Van Slyke and Francis T. Cullen. His research has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control, and private research foundations. He is currentlywriting a monograph on Emotions in Crime and Criminal Justice.

Sally S. Simpson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, College Park and Director of the Center for the Study of Business Ethics, Regulation, & Crime. Simpson is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, a Distinguished Scholar named by the ASC Division on Women and Crime, and the 2013 recipient of the Gilbert Geis Lifetime Achievement Award from the National White-Collar Crime Center and the White-Collar Crime Research Consortium. She is past President of the White-Collar Crime Research Consortium. Author of more than 60 articles and chapters along with five books, Simpson is Principal Investigator on a National Institute of Justice funded research project that examines the relationship between corporate board diversity and company participation in accounting fraud and bribery, environmental violations, and anti-competitive behavior.

About the Series

Criminology and Justice Studies

Criminology and Justice Studies publishes books for undergraduate and graduate courses that model the best scholarship and innovative thinking in the criminology and criminal justice field today, but in a style that connects this scholarship to a wide audience of students, researchers, and possibly the general public.

We are particularly interested in proposals that offer a global perspective on crime and justice, that present a novel approach to more traditional areas of study, or that develop a new way to incorporate the wide and evolving array of digital technologies available to college and university instructors. If you have a publishing project to propose, we look forward to hearing from you!

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology


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