Is a 'bad individual' more condemnable than several 'bad individuals'? Examining the scope-severity paradox

Abstract : Previous literature found empirical evidence to the scope-severity paradox (SSP), corresponding to situations where the perceived harm of a wrongdoing or crime decreases with the number of victims. We examine this phenomenon for the perpetrators’ side. Using a survey experiment, we examine whether increasing the number of perpetrators of a crime, namely a fraud, decreases its perceived severity (and subsequent punishment) at the individual level. Two scenarios are examined corresponding to two kinds of fraud: a fraud committed by a financial adviser against his/her own employer (scenario 1) and a tax evasion by an executive (scenario 2). Overall, our results do not offer a clear-cut support for the scope-severity paradox for the perpetrators’ side, even if some secondary results can be indicative of a possible SSP in some circumstances. More precisely, in the case of a financial fraud, the stated severity increases when the number of perpetrators is low. We discuss the implications of our results and raise important issues for future research.
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https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-02448914
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Soumis le : mercredi 22 janvier 2020 - 15:34:32
Dernière modification le : jeudi 20 février 2020 - 19:23:50

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  • HAL Id : hal-02448914, version 1

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Gilles Grolleau, Lisette Ibanez, Naoufel Mzoughi. Is a 'bad individual' more condemnable than several 'bad individuals'? Examining the scope-severity paradox. Review of Law and Economics, De Gruyter, In press. ⟨hal-02448914⟩

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