Kriminologiska institutionens avhandlingsserie nr. 22, 2007.

Abstract: Since the 1970´s economic crime has been a debated issue in Sweden. Lack of reliable statistical information has been put forth as a serious problem in this debate.

The aim of this thesis is to examine the possibilities of improving quantitative knowledge regarding the prevalence and structure of economic crime in Sweden. Two studies were carried out in order to realize that aim. The first study is a literature review that surveys existing studies within the field and that also critically evaluates the methods and data used in these studies. Focus is placed on acts committed in legal financial organisations and regulated by criminal law. The second study is an in-depth study of economic crimes against consumers on the Swedish market. This study is not limited to criminal law but includes both consumer detriment and crime victimization. Four data materials are used to describe consumer victimization in Sweden, but foremost for discussing the methodological conditions for researching these phenomena.

The findings show that there has been a striking focus on tax crime in the Swedish research context. Other crimes, such as insider crime and book-keeping crime has also been studied. When it comes to economic crimes against employees and consumers there is a lack of quantitative Swedish studies. The conclusion of the critical evaluation of the methods is that although methodological problems exist they should not be overstated. For example, survey methods have been used successfully. The findings from the second study show that existing materials give the impression of consumer detriment and victimization as increasingly frequent phenomena. The results also show that people with a relatively high degree of resources report victimization to a higher degree. However, methodological problems make these results questionable. Future studies need to be based on theoretical foundations relevant to the conditions surrounding consumption in Western modern societies.