We draw on rational crime theory to help analyse 55 articles that have been retracted from 734 peer-reviewed journals in the field of economics. We highlight and discuss what these findings indicate regarding the nature and pattern of research malpractice in that discipline. Particular attention is given to exploring “no reason” retractions and the policy guidelines of publishers regarding retracted papers. We conclude that the frequent vagueness of retraction statements, and a reluctance to signal research malpractice, generally results in little damage to the reputation of caught, and known, offenders. Thus, a key deterrent to engaging in research malpractice is lacking. To reduce the incidence of research malpractice, we offer several recommendations for publishers and journal editors.