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Legal Regulation of Health-Related Behavior: A Half-Century of Public Health Law Research

Annual Review of Law & Social Science, Forthcoming

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-19

42 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2013 Last revised: 3 Feb 2016

Scott Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Evan D. Anderson

Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 13, 2013

Abstract

Legal intervention to influence individual health behavior has increased dramatically since the 1960s. This paper describes the rise of law as a tool of public health, and the scientific research that has assessed and often guided it, with a focus on five major domains: traffic safety, gun violence, tobacco use, reproductive health and obesity. These topical stories illustrate both law’s effectiveness and limitations as a public health tool. They also establish its popularity by the most apt of metrics – the willingness of legislators to enact it. The five examples demonstrate that public health law research can and does influence the development and refinement of legal interventions over time. Measuring the impact of laws can be difficult, but the field has the tools of theory and methods necessary to produce robust results. It is past time for public health research to receive institutional, professional and funding support commensurate with its social importance.

Keywords: Legal evaluation, health policy, interventional public health law

Suggested Citation

Burris, Scott and Anderson, Evan D., Legal Regulation of Health-Related Behavior: A Half-Century of Public Health Law Research (March 13, 2013). Annual Review of Law & Social Science, Forthcoming; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2233603 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2233603

Scott C. Burris (Contact Author)

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-6576 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phlr.org

Evan D. Anderson

Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2159000359 (Phone)

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