Abstract: The Tip of the Iceberg: Business-Related Crime in German Print Media, 1948-2008

Stefanie Werner


This paper aims at three things. First, it introduces the term "business-related crime"—i.e. crime that is either committed by corporations or directed against corporations. The meaning of the term is elaborated in comparison to the established phrases "white-collar crime," "corporate crime," and "occupational crime." Second, the paper reviews the existing research on business-related crime in postwar Western Germany. Third, it presents new data on the subject, derived from a content analysis of <i>Die Zeit</i> and <i>Der Spiegel</i>, two major German weekly newspapers. Shedding light on trends in media coverage, the data reveals that the public hardly took notice of business-related crime in the 1950s and paid increasing attention to it afterward. The data also provides an overview of the different types of business-related crime—corruption, investment fraud, industrial spying, etc.—that occurred in Germany. Finally, it allows an exploration of which industries were reportedly involved more often in crimes, both as offenders and as victims.