Unjust Laws and Illegal Norms
International Review of Law and Economics, Forthcoming
32 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2008 Last revised: 9 Mar 2012
Date Written: June 1, 2009
Due to a variety of circumstances, lawmakers occasionally create laws whose aims are perceived as outright unjust by the majority of the people. In other situations, the law may utilize improper means for the pursuit of a just goal. In all such cases, lawmaking processes generate rules that do not reflect the values of the underlying population. In these cases individuals may face legal commands or prohibitions that conflict with their sense of justice or fairness. Individuals can oppose unjust laws through protest. Social opposition to unjust laws may trigger social norms that can have countervailing effects on legal intervention. The dynamic effects of these phenomena are the object of this paper.
Keywords: Social Norms, Countervailing Effect, Expressive Function, Law Enforcement, Civil Disobedience
JEL Classification: K10, K42, D70, B52, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation