Visions of the Republic | Facts and Fictions of Corporate Executive Accountability

By Masaki Iwasaki

U.S. Senator and former Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren recently proposed the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, a bill that lowers the level of mental state required to prosecute executives for any corporate crime. A nationwide debate has been raging over this Act, but most arguments have focused on the appropriateness of the relaxed requirement, and the whole picture of executive accountability is vague. This Essay reveals what the facts and fictions of corporate executive accountability are, focusing on the degree of punishment of criminal executives. The author presents the estimates of expected direct and indirect punishments of executives and considers other options to deter corporate crimes, options that could be used with or without the proposed Act.