Obeying the Rules of the Road: Procedural Justice, Social Identity and Normative Compliance

18 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2014

See all articles by Ben Bradford

Ben Bradford

University College London - Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

Katrin Hohl

City University London; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Jonathan Jackson

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

Sarah MacQueen

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2014

Abstract

Why do people comply with traffic laws and regulations? Road traffic policing tends to be premised on the idea that people comply when they are presented with a credible risk of sanction in the event of non-compliance. Such an instrumental model of compliance contrasts with the normative account offered by procedural justice theory, in which compliance is encouraged by legitimate legal authorities. Comparing these two accounts, we find evidence that both instrumental and normative factors explain variance in motorists’ self-reported propensity to offend. Extending the standard procedural justice account, we also find that it is social identity – not legitimacy – that forms the ‘bridge’ linking procedural fairness and compliance, at least according to a definition of legitimacy that combines felt obligation and moral endorsement. Fair treatment at the hands of police officers seems to enhance identification with the social group the police represent, and in turn, identification seems to motivate adherence to rules (laws) governing social behavior. These findings have implications not only for understandings of legal compliance, but also our understanding of why procedural justice motivates compliance, and the role of procedural justice in promoting social cohesion.

Keywords: Procedural Justice; compliance; policing; traffic laws

Suggested Citation

Bradford, Ben and Hohl, Katrin and Jackson, Jonathan and MacQueen, Sarah, Obeying the Rules of the Road: Procedural Justice, Social Identity and Normative Compliance (September 1, 2014). Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 87/2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2530633 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2530633

Ben Bradford (Contact Author)

University College London - Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science ( email )

35 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9EZ
United Kingdom

Katrin Hohl

City University London ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V OHB
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://lse.academia.edu/KatrinHohl/About

Jonathan Jackson

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

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

Sarah MacQueen

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
175
Abstract Views
1,559
rank
248,667
PlumX Metrics