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How the government created the legal ecosystem for the financial crisis

Many Americans are angry that hardly any executives have gone to jail for fraud or other actions that caused the global financial crisis. In an essay in the New York Review of Books, judge Jed Rakoff gives his analysis of why federal prosecutors have not pressed charges. In part, it’s because the Federal Government itself was guilty. Judge Rakoff is the U.S.

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The Promise of Ethical Systems for C&E Professionals

Jeffrey Kaplan (resident expert in law and compliance) has a new post on Conflict of Interest Blog about the potential for Ethical Systems to improve corporate compliance: "my hope is that through the Eth Sys platform social science researchers and C&E profession

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What an ethical culture is and isn't

There was an interesting exchange at ECOA Connects blog last week, about what are the key components of an ethical culture. (ECOA is the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association.) The authors were two men with a great deal of experience working with companies on their ethics policies and problems.

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Ameliorating Conflicts of Interest and Corruption in Auditing

Image: Chester Higgins, via Wikimedia Commons. Negative externalities such as
pollution can be controlled, but only if all stakeholders are working together
instead of at cross purposes.
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Finance Tackling Ethical Conduct, But Issues Remain


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High-Status, Successful Employees More Likely to Use Deception

A working paper at Harvard Business School reports that successful, higher-status employees are more likely to react to unfavorable comparisons with peers by engaging in deception designed to make the comparisons less unfavorable. The authors tested their hypothesis primarily with academics, finding that those further up in the hierarchy were more likely to use deceptive self-downloads on SSRN.

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Compliance Trends Show Room for Improvement

WSJ's Risk and Compliance Journal reported today on In Focus: Compliance Trends Survey 2013, a collaboration by Deloitte and Compliance Week. They found, among other things, that companies focus on different kinds of compliance issues depending on their size, operational structure, and risk profile.

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Fair Leadership is Good Business

The Guardian reported earlier this week on a new study showing a strong connection between whether employees perceive their leaders as fair and those leaders' ability to effect positive change in their organizations.


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Cheating May Cause Boost in Happiness

Citing a 2013 study by several ethics researchers, including EthSys contributor Francesca Gino, The New York Times reports that people experience an elevated mood after cheating, as long as they do not believe anyone was harmed by it.

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Trust Within and Between Groups with Different Missions

A manuscript currently in press from the University of Zurich reports that subjects who strongly identify themselves with a non-profit mission are more trustworthy in a minimal group setting (i.e., when grouped by artistic preference for Paul Klee or Wassily Kandinsky) but also harshly discriminate against out-groups when subjects are grouped by the missions they identify themselves with (i.e., Amnesty International or World Wildlife Fund).

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