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Keywords:

  • enforcement;
  • financial markets;
  • reputation;
  • responsive regulation;
  • shaming

Abstract

Enforcement agencies increasingly disclose or “name and shame” corporate offenders. This article uses responsive regulation as a framework for an empirical study of the impact of non-anonymous publication of sanctions in the Dutch financial market. These publications are characterized as “naming without shaming”, because they are used for technical guidance rather than with the intention to shame. The findings show that naming offenders functions as a general deterrent in the market for financial intermediaries, but considerably less so in the capital market. In both markets, the publication of sanctions weakened the impact of enforcement. In the capital market, the publications neutralized the seriousness of offenses and contributed to the image of the regulator as powerless. In the market for financial intermediaries, naming offenders was perceived as stigmatizing shaming and led to defiance, rather than compliance. The case study suggests, however, that the publication of sanctions may provide an opportunity for guidance, provided they contain a moral message, rather than technical instruction.