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Boardroom Scandal: The Criminalization of Company Fraud in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Published

Publication date04/2013
Place of publicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages312
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-969579-9
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This is only the second monograph on company fraud in nineteenth-century Britain. It challenges prevailing interpretations of Victorian responses to fraud. Historians have assumed that the British accepted fraud as the necessary price for a dynamic economy, and that it was not seriously tackled until well into the twentieth century. Based on an unparalleled sample of legal cases, this book shows that the state demonstrated a growing interest in curbing corporate misbehaviour in the nineteenth century. For the first time, a definition of corporate fraud was enshrined in law, and the state deployed the criminal law and the resources of the police, and created new administrative offices, to protect new forms of property associated with the corporate economy. The book should attract a wide readership in light of the ongoing economic crisis and the issues it raises regarding business ethics and the relationship between the state and the market.