From the Avalanche to the Game: White-Collar Offenders on Crime, Bonds and Morality

Joost H.R. van Onna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In order to understand the mechanisms that underlie involvement in white-collar crime on a personal level, 26 offenders convicted of a white-collar offence were interviewed. Building on theory and research from white-collar criminology, life-course criminology and moral psychology, findings show that a combination of criminogenic circumstances, weakened social bonds and adjusted moral ideas lead offenders down different pathways into white-collar offending. Although the process of crime involvement seems highly context-dependent in some instances, the interviews indicate that crime involvement is more commonly part of a long-running process, in which social bonds have weakened or moral ideas have been adjusted, which in turn influenced the decision to engage in the white-collar offence. Along with the limitations of the study and the directions for future research, the paper discusses the implications of the findings for white-collar crime research, in particular the complex role of morality in white-collar crime involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-431
Number of pages27
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number4
Early online date18 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Interview
  • Life-course
  • Morality
  • Social bonds
  • White-collar crime


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