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Spring 2009
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 24, Number 2

Insider Trading: Is There an Economist in the Room?

Alexandre Padilla, The Metropolitan State College of Denver
Brian Gardiner, The Metropolitan State College of Denver
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise24(2),2009,113-136InsiderTrading:IsThereanEconomistintheRoom?AlexandrePadilla*TheMetropolitanStateCollegeofDenverBrianGardinerTheMetropolitanStateCollegeofDenverAbstractThispaperexamineseconomists'opinionsoninsidertradingandtheirpolicyrecommendations.Wereviewtheeconomicliteratureandsurvey3,000economiststoaskthemtheirthoughtsoninsidertrading.Wefindthateconomiststraditionallyfavorgovernmentregulationofinsidertrading.Inaddition,theresultsofoursurveyshowthat,whenunfamiliarwithinsidertrading,economiststendtorelyonthemorefamiliarmodeloftheperfectlycompetitivemarketasanormativebenchmarktoassessthedesirabilityofinsidertrading.Asaresult,theseeconomistsalsotendtosupportgovernmentregulationofinsidertrading.Ouranalysisshedsanewlightontheformationofeconomists'normativeviews.Italsooffersapossibleexplanation,complementingPublicChoicemodels,fortheoriginsanddynamicsoftheregulatoryprocess.JELCodes:A11,K22Keywords:Economists;Insidertrading;Interventionism;Morality;Normative;Opinion;Regulation;SurveyI.IntroductionThispaperinvestigateseconomists'opinionsoninsidertrading.Moreparticularly,itinvestigatesthepolicyrecommendationsthateconomistsgive,withaspecialfocusonwhetherinsidertradingshouldberegulatedandwhetherthegovernmentshouldbethemainforcebehindtheregulation.Insidertradingisprobablythemostknownandpublicizedwhitecollarcrime.Themediaoftendepicttheperpetrators,theinsiders,ascutthroat,manipulative,greedyindividuals.Inaddition,sincethe*TheauthorswouldliketothankDanielB.Kleinforusefulsuggestionsandcomments.Theusualdisclaimerapplies.113
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