U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Corporate Crime Deterrence: A Systematic Review

NCJ Number
Date Published
105 pages

The authors’ overall objective for this review was to identify and synthesize published and unpublished studies on formal legal and administrative prevention and control strategies and then assess the impact of those strategies on individual and company offending; the authors included legal and administrative interventions such as new laws or changes in laws, inspections by regulatory agencies, punitive sanctions, and non-punitive interventions aimed at deterring or controlling illegal behaviors.


This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of interventions to deter corporate crime. The authors discuss the effectiveness of formal legal and administrative strategies to lower the risk of non-compliance, summarizing 106 studies, and grouping the interventions into six categories, each with sub-categories. The intervention groups are: laws; punitive sanctions, such as arrest, fines, or a likelihood of prosecution; non-punitive actions by regulatory agencies; regulatory policies, such as company inspections; other sanctions; and multiple treatments. Legal interventions demonstrated a small deterrent effect on company non-compliance and at the geographical level. There is not enough data to determine the effects of legal interventions on deterring individual offending. Regulatory interventions have a modest but consistent deterrent effect on individual offending. Their effects on deterrence at the company level were mixed. The use of more than one intervention at the same time was found to have a small but consistent effect on deterring non-compliance among individuals and among corporations. Evidence on the effects of the other interventions on non-compliance was mixed. Conclusions about their effects therefore could not be drawn. Overall, the quality of evidence was low, with several contradictory findings. Older studies were more likely to find significant effects, but this may reflect weaker study designs. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2014