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Law and Norms: Empirical Evidence

Tom Lane () and Daniele Nosenzo

No 2020-03, LISER Working Paper Series from LISER

Abstract: A large theoretical literature argues laws exert a causal effect on norms. This paper is the first to provide a clean empirical test of the proposition. Using an incentivized vignette experiment, we directly measure social normsrelating to actions subject to legal thresholds. Results from three samples with around 800 subjects drawn from universities in the UK and China, and the UK general population, show laws often, but not always, influence norms. The strength of the effect varies across different scenarios, with some evidence that it is more powerful when lawbreaking is more likely to be intentional and accurately measurable.

Keywords: social Norms; Law; Expressive Function of Law (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C92 K00 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 124 pages
Date: 2020-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo and nep-exp
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Working Paper: Law and Norms: Empirical Evidence (2019) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:irs:cepswp:2020-03

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