The Real Danger of the Responsibility Surplus

The Responsible Corporate Officer doctrine permits the criminal punishment of an executive who neither participated in nor was aware of a criminal offense committed by a subordinate in limited circumstances. Some theorists argue for
expanding the scope of the doctrine as a means of discouraging corporate wrongdoing. In this article I argue that this is mistaken as a matter of fact. Extending such vicarious criminal liability would not only fail to reduce corporate crime, it would be likely to both increase it and retard efforts to create non-criminogenic corporate cultures.