Ethical Issues in Insider Trading: Case Studies

28 Pages Posted: 4 May 2004

See all articles by Robert W. McGee

Robert W. McGee

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting


Insider trading has received a bad name in recent decades. The popular press makes it sound like an evil practice where those who engage in it are totally devoid of ethical principles. Yet not all insider trading is illegal and some studies have concluded that certain kinds of insider trading are actually beneficial to the greater investment community. Some scholars in philosophy, law and economics have disputed whether insider trading should be punished at all while others assert that it should be illegal in all cases. Appeals often tend to be based on emotion rather than logic and academic analysis. This paper reviews the literature on insider trading and applies utilitarian ethics and rights theory to some recent case studies of insider trading in an attempt to determine which forms of insider trading are ethically acceptable.

Keywords: Ethics, Insider Trading, Martha Stewart, corporate governance, utilitarianism, welfare

JEL Classification: D63, G34, K22

Suggested Citation

McGee, Robert W., Ethical Issues in Insider Trading: Case Studies. Available at SSRN: or

Robert W. McGee (Contact Author)

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Fayetteville, NC 28301
United States


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics