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    An economic model of whistle-blower policy

    Heyes, A. and Kapur, Sandeep (2009) An economic model of whistle-blower policy. Journal of Law, Economics & Organization 25 (1), pp. 157-182. ISSN 8756-6222.

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    Abstract

    "Whistle-blowing" is an increasingly common element of regulatory enforcement programs and one that is encouraged by recent legislation in the United States and elsewhere. We examine how responsive regulators should be to whistle-blower tip-offs and how severe should penalties be for wrongdoers detected in this way. Competing psychological theories as to what motivates employees to become whistle-blowers are operationalized as alternative behavioral heuristics. Optimal policy depends upon the motives attributed to whistle-blowers—which of the theories you subscribe to—but is not in general characterized by maximal penalties nor routine pursuit of complaints, even when pursuit is costless.

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