Buckling Under Pressure: An Empirical Test of the Expressive Effects of Law
University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law
February 11, 2011
Yale Journal on Regulation, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2011
Expressive theories of law assert that law has effects on behavior beyond simple deterrence. This Note tests legal expressivism by analyzing how seatbelt use has changed in response to differing state seatbelt laws. This Note separates the effects of the laws themselves from the effects of changing enforcement levels and finds that the laws have a robust effect on seatbelt use, even controlling for convictions or citations issued. Additionally, this Note finds that a highly publicized seatbelt law in one state can affect seatbelt use in other states. These findings support an expressive function of law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: legal expressivism, seat belts
Date posted: February 13, 2011 ; Last revised: June 28, 2011