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Abstract

Congress has repeatedly expanded the authority of the SEC to pursue
violations of securities laws in proceedings adjudicated by the SEC's own administrative law judges, most recently through the Dodd-Frank Act. We report the results from an empirical study of SEC enforcement actions against non-financial public companies to assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the balance between civil court and administrative enforcement actions. We
show a general decline in the number of court actions and an increase in the number of administrative proceedings post-Dodd-Frank. At the same time, we show an increase in average civil penalties post-Dodd-Frank for both court actions and administrative proceedings involving non-financial public companies. Companies were also more willing to cooperate with the SEC,
consistent with an increase in the SEC's leverage in administrative
proceedings.

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