Do Laws Shape Attitudes? Evidence From Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Policies in Europe

34 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2018 Last revised: 30 Jan 2019

See all articles by Cevat Giray Aksoy

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; King’s College London; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Christopher S. Carpenter

Vanderbilt University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ralph De Haas

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); KU Leuven

Kevin Ducbao Tran

University of Bristol, School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 6 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

Understanding whether laws shape or simply reflect citizens’ attitudes is important but empirically difficult. We provide new evidence on this question by studying the relationship between legal same-sex relationship recognition policies (SSRRPs) and attitudes toward sexual minorities in Europe. Using data from the European Social Surveys covering 2002-2016 and exploiting variation in the timing of SSRRPs across countries, we show that legal relationship recognition is associated with statistically significant improvements in attitudes toward sexual minorities. These effects are widespread across demographic groups, emerge only after the policies are adopted, and are not observed for views on other social issues. Our results suggest that laws can exert a powerful influence in shaping societal attitudes.

Keywords: Public Opinion, Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Policies, LGBT Attitudes

JEL Classification: F5, K36

Suggested Citation

Aksoy, Cevat Giray and Carpenter, Christopher S. and De Haas, Ralph and Tran, Kevin Ducbao, Do Laws Shape Attitudes? Evidence From Same-Sex Relationship Recognition Policies in Europe (January 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3224385 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3224385

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( email )

One Exchange Square
London EC2A 2JN
United Kingdom

King’s College London ( email )

Aldwych
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
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Germany

Christopher S. Carpenter

Vanderbilt University ( email )

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Nashville, TN 37235
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/kittcarpenter/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Ralph De Haas (Contact Author)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( email )

One Exchange Square
London, EC2A 2JN
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: www.ebrd.com

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

KU Leuven ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Kevin Ducbao Tran

University of Bristol, School of Economics ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

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