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; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; London School of Economics

Christopher Carpenter

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ralph De Haas

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Tilburg University - Department of Finance

Kevin Tran

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - Firms and Markets

Multiple version iconThere are 5 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 and De Haas, Ralph and Tran, Kevin, 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

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Christopher Carpenter

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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

Tilburg University - Department of Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Kevin Tran

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) - Firms and Markets ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

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