Corporate Crime and Plea Bargains

Uriel Procaccia 1  and Eyal Winter 2
  • 1 Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz Professor Emeritus of Corporate Law and member, the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University; Research professor the Cegla Institute, the Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2 Silverzweig Professor of Economics and member, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Uriel Procaccia
  • Corresponding author
  • Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz Professor Emeritus of Corporate Law and member, the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University; Research professor the Cegla Institute, the Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
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and Eyal Winter
  • Silverzweig Professor of Economics and member, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Email
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar

Abstract

Corporate entities enjoy legal subjectivity in a variety of forms, but they are not human beings. Hence, their legal capacity to bear rights and obligations of their own is not universal. This article lays out a stylized model that explores, from a normative point of view, one of the limits that ought to be set on corporate capacity to act “as if” they had a human nature − the capacity to commit crime. Accepted wisdom states that corporate criminal liability is justified as a measure to deter criminal behavior. Our analysis supports this intuition in one subset of cases, but also reveals that deterrence might in fact be undermined in another subset of cases, especially in an environment saturated with plea bargains involving serious violations of the law.

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