Adolescent Precursors of White-Collar Crime

  1. Crime Prevention
  2. Gender and Crime
  3. Juvenile Justice

Key Findings

  • Adolescent males from wealthy upbringings in suburban neighborhoods have the highest rates of white-collar delinquency and cheating.
  • Adolescent males from upper-class families have a five-point higher risk of adult-white collar crime than females from lower class families.
  • Adolescent offenses can be put off as ‘kids being kids’, but long-time offenses build up and can indicate trends.


White-collar crime is associated with adults, but these adults begin crafting their skills much earlier in life. In his study, Singer collected data on cheating in school, an indicator of white-collar delinquency. In 2014, 12% of adolescents admitted to cheating five or more times but more analysis showed students reporting higher grades were perpetrators of cheating, and adolescents who were concerned with success over mastery had higher rates of cheating. The data on cheating in school is meant to highlight the need for more criminology research on white-collar delinquency through survey data, personal interviews and case studies to understand youth offenders.

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