This Side of the Law: Evaluating Citizens' Attitudes Toward Legal Compliance
29 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2017
Date Written: July 28, 2017
A fundamental concern of government is getting citizens to comply with its laws. Yet, citizen beliefs on the importance of following the law have received relatively little attention in political science scholarship. People's feelings regarding legal compliance are driven by a dynamic and nuanced set of influences. In this study we explore the degree to which people are committed to the rule of law and the importance of legal obedience. We employ a structural equation modeling approach to assaying the factors that influence citizens' beliefs regarding the importance of following the law. We find that citizens' perceptions on the legitimacy of legal institutions and justice system scandals, among other considerations, can impact the importance citizens' attach to obeying the law. Some factors also wield indirect effects on compliance attitudes by influencing citizens' views regarding the legitimacy of courts. Our paper provides novel insights on this core aspect of government-citizen dynamics.
Keywords: Courts, Structural Equation, Public Opinion, Compliance, Obey, Law Order, Legitimacy
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