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Analysis of Economic Crime in Religious Institutions using Convenience Theory: What is so special about Motive, Opportunity and Willingness?

By: Petter Gottschalk

Abstract
There is a research debate whether or not religious people demonstrate less delinquent
behavior in terms of white-collar crime. This article focuses on those members of
religious institutions who become offenders, and the article attempts to explain their
behavior by the theory of convenience. Convenience theory suggests that the extent of
white-collar crime is determined by financial motive, organizational opportunity, and
personal willingness. As described in this article, religiosity may influence motive,
opportunity, as well as willingness. The motive can be a greater good, the opportunity can
be the lack of control because of trust, and the willingness can be the availability of
forgiveness.
Keywords: Convenience theory, white-collar crime, deviant behavior, institutional
opportunity, religious organization.