The Provocative Effect of Law: Majority Nationalism and Minority Discrimination

15(4) Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 2018, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2017 Last revised: 30 Jun 2018

See all articles by Netta Barak Corren

Netta Barak Corren

Harvard Law School; Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Yuval Feldman

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law

Noam Gidron

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Political Science Department

Date Written: May 23, 2018

Abstract

Western societies have experienced ethnic and religious diversification in recent decades. These demographic changes have been met by efforts to defend the local dominant culture using majority nationalism laws, intended to protect the cultural heritage of the majority.

We empirically examine majority nationalism laws’ expressive effects on patterns of minority discrimination using the Israeli draft Nation Law (NL) as a case study. Drawing on two experimental surveys of a representative sample of the majority population of Israel (N = 602), our results lend weak support to the hypothesis that majority nationalism laws increase bias against minorities, and modest support to the hypothesis that such laws generate unintended spillover effects across different minority groups and from the public to the private sphere. Our main finding is that majority nationalism laws provoke a backlash reaction from those who oppose them. We define this as the provocative effect of law and discuss its relation to the expressive law theory. The results suggest that the effects of majority nationalism laws may vary systematically across ideological groups and spheres of discrimination.

Note: Appendices available upon request from authors.

Keywords: majority nationalism, discrimination, tolerance, expressive law, provocative law, identity threat

Suggested Citation

Barak Corren, Netta and Feldman, Yuval and Gidron, Noam, The Provocative Effect of Law: Majority Nationalism and Minority Discrimination (May 23, 2018). 15(4) Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 2018, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2994244 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2994244

Netta Barak Corren (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel

Yuval Feldman

Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Faculty of Law
Ramat Gan, 52900
Israel

Noam Gidron

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Political Science Department ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem
Israel

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