Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Why Do People Comply with the Law? Legitimacy and the Influence of Legal Institutions

British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 52, No. 6, pp. 1051-1071, 2012

22 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2012 Last revised: 13 Mar 2013

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology

Ben Bradford

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology

Mike Hough

University of London - Institute for Criminal Policy Research

Andy Myhill

College of Policing

Paul Quinton

National Policing Improvement Agency

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: February 5, 2012

Abstract

This paper extends Tyler’s procedural justice model of public compliance with the law. Analysing data from a national probability sample of adults in England and Wales, we present a new conceptualisation of legitimacy based not just on the recognition of power but also the justification of power. We find that people accept the police’s right to dictate appropriate behaviour, not only when they feel a duty to obey officers, but also when they believe that the institution acts according to a shared moral purpose with citizens. Highlighting a number of different routes by which institutions can influence citizen behaviour, our broader normative model provides a better framework for explaining why people are willing to comply with the law.

Keywords: Public confidence, trust, legitimacy, compliance

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Jonathan and Bradford, Ben and Hough, Mike and Myhill, Andy and Quinton, Paul and Tyler, Tom, Why Do People Comply with the Law? Legitimacy and the Influence of Legal Institutions (February 5, 2012). British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 52, No. 6, pp. 1051-1071, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1994490 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1994490

Jonathan Jackson (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+0044-207-955-7652 (Phone)

Ben Bradford

University of Oxford - Centre for Criminology ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3UQ
United Kingdom

Mike Hough

University of London - Institute for Criminal Policy Research ( email )

Strand
London, WC2B 2LS
United Kingdom

Andy Myhill

College of Policing

10th Floor Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London, SE1 9HA
United Kingdom

Paul King Quinton

National Policing Improvement Agency ( email )

Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF
United Kingdom

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,117
Rank
14,688
Abstract Views
5,165