Corporal Punishment, Social Norms and Norm Cascades: Examining Cross-National Laws and Trends in Homes Across the Globe

26 William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice __ (forthcoming)

Albany Law School Research Paper No. 12 for 2019-2020

Posted: 4 Jul 2019 Last revised: 24 Oct 2019

See all articles by Melissa L. Breger

Melissa L. Breger

Albany Law School

Lucy Sorensen

State University of New York (SUNY) - Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy

Victor Asal

State University of New York at Albany

Charmaine Willis

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy University of Albany

Date Written: July 2, 2019

Abstract

For centuries across the globe, parents have utilized corporal punishment against children in the name of discipline. This article is the first legal article to examine cross-national trends in child corporal punishment laws of every country and to propose ideas for reducing its practice. By examining 192 countries over a 46-year period, we shed light on emerging associations.

Additionally, by delving into countries’ self-reports regarding their compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), we observe other unique patterns globally.

It should be noted that during the course of our empirical research and data collection (from 2017-2019) significant moves to decrease the prevalence of child corporal punishment have emerged, such as the 2019 legislation in Japan seeking to outlaw the practice of child corporal punishment and the 2018 American Association for Pediatricians Statement asserting its first public admonishment of physical discipline against children.

In our analysis, we utilize the country of Sweden - the first country worldwide to ban outright corporal punishment - as our first case study to delve into the concept of norm cascades. We then utilize the country of Ethiopia - a country making great strides in changing societal norms about corporal punishment through public dissemination of literature and norm campaigns - as our second case study to examine concepts of re-norming. In conclusion, we demonstrate how social norms theory may be utilized to decrease the use and acceptance of child corporal punishment in the home.

Suggested Citation

Breger, Melissa L. and Sorensen, Lucy and Asal, Victor and Willis, Charmaine, Corporal Punishment, Social Norms and Norm Cascades: Examining Cross-National Laws and Trends in Homes Across the Globe (July 2, 2019). 26 William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice __ (forthcoming); Albany Law School Research Paper No. 12 for 2019-2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3413969

Melissa L. Breger (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
518-445-2311 (Phone)

Lucy Sorensen

State University of New York (SUNY) - Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy ( email )

1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
United States

HOME PAGE: http://lucycsorensen.com

Victor Asal

State University of New York at Albany ( email )

135 Western Ave
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Charmaine Willis

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy University of Albany ( email )

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