Expanding ‘Appropriate’ Police Behavior Beyond Procedural Justice: Bounded Authority & the Legitimation of the Law

23 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2016  

Rick Trinkner

Arizona State University

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science - Department of Methodology

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: October 2, 2016

Abstract

This paper draws upon recent work in the field of legal socialization (Trinkner & Tyler, in press; Tyler & Trinkner, in press) to expand previous conceptualizations of appropriate police behavior beyond procedural justice. The focus of the current study is on the role of bounded authority – i.e. respecting the limits of one’s power – and its association with perceptions of police legitimacy, legal legitimacy, and compliance. Using survey data from a nationally representative sample of US adults, we show that concerns over bounded authority, respectful treatment, and neutral decision-making combine to form a strong predictor of police and legal legitimacy. Additionally, legal legitimacy is associated with greater compliance behavior, even while controlling for personal morality and perceived likelihood of sanctions. Our conclusions address some future directions of research, particularly in the extension of procedural justice theory.

Keywords: Procedural justice, Legal socialization, Legitimacy, Public contact with the police, Trust, Compliance, Policing by consent

JEL Classification: K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Trinkner, Rick and Jackson, Jonathan and Tyler, Tom, Expanding ‘Appropriate’ Police Behavior Beyond Procedural Justice: Bounded Authority & the Legitimation of the Law (October 2, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2846659 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2846659

Rick Trinkner (Contact Author)

Arizona State University ( email )

411 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

Jonathan Jackson

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

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

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School ( email )

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
80
Rank
250,339
Abstract Views
341