Comparative Compliance: Digital Piracy, Deterrence, Social Norms, and Duty in China and the United States

21 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2017

See all articles by Benjamin van Rooij

Benjamin van Rooij

University of California, Irvine School of Law; University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Adam Fine

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Criminology & Criminal Justice

Yanyan Zhang

Jilin University-Lambton College (JULC)

Yunmei Wu

Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences (YASS); University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

The study of compliance has been predominantly Western, and we do not know whether existing theories and findings also apply elsewhere. As a first venture in developing a comparative view on compliance, this study seeks to gain a comparative understanding of compliance decision making among Chinese and American students. It studies their decisions in response to two scenarios that offer an opportunity to use pirated online content. It tests how their decisions are shaped by subjective deterrence, social norms, and perceived duty to obey the law, comparing a control group with a group who received an explicit deterrence message from a strong campaign targeting the use of pirated digital content. The results indicate that, regardless of the explicit enforcement context, Chinese students' inclination to engage in digital piracy hinges chiefly on the perceived behavior and approval of others. This stands in contrast to US students. Within an explicit enforcement context, both social norms and perceived enforcement affect US students' decision making, whereas when there is no explicit enforcement context, both social norms and perceived duty to obey the law affect decision making. This study thus provides a warning that compliance theories and findings may not generalize well beyond the Western context. This necessitates the development of comparative compliance studies and more cross‐national replication.

Suggested Citation

van Rooij, Benjamin and Fine, Adam and Zhang, Yanyan and Wu, Yunmei, Comparative Compliance: Digital Piracy, Deterrence, Social Norms, and Duty in China and the United States (January 2017). Law & Policy, Vol. 39, Issue 1, pp. 73-93, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2901264 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lapo.12071

Benjamin Van Rooij (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Adam Fine

Arizona State University (ASU) - School of Criminology & Criminal Justice ( email )

411 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

Yanyan Zhang

Jilin University-Lambton College (JULC) ( email )

Changchun, Jilin Province 130012
China

Yunmei Wu

Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences (YASS) ( email )

577 Huan Cheng Xi Lu
Kunming, 650034
China

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://nclc.uva.nl/about/staff/wu-yunmei.html

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