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Free Content Forensic Finance

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During popular prime-time television shows, forensic investigators use specialized but wide-ranging scientific knowledge of chemical trace evidence, bacteria, DNA, teeth, insects, and other specialties to collect and sift evidence of possible crimes. In economics and finance, forensic investigators apply their own specialized knowledge of prices, quantities, timing, and market institutions—and sometimes discover or substantiate evidence that is used by regulatory or criminal enforcement agencies. In this article, I will discuss four recent topics in forensic finance, all of which have attracted media attention: 1) the late trading of mutual funds, 2) stock option backdating, 3) the allocation of underpriced initial public offerings to corporate executives, and 4) changes in the records of stock analyst recommendations. In most of these cases, once certain practices or patterns have been publicized, financial industry practice has changed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.
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