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 1 (2020)

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

42 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2019 Last revised: 10 Apr 2020

See all articles by Melissa L. Breger

Melissa L. Breger

Albany Law School

Lucy Sorensen

University at Albany (SUNY)

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, parents across the globe 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 and to propose ideas for reducing its practice using the social norms approach. By examining 192 countries over a 46-year period, we shed light on emerging patterns. Additionally, by delving into countries’ self-reports regarding their compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) treaty, we observe other unique patterns globally.

Notably, during the course of our empirical research and data collection (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 in Japanese homes, and the 2018 American Association for Pediatricians Statement asserting its first public admonishment of physical discipline against children in the home.

In our analysis, we utilize the country of Sweden — the first country worldwide to ban outright corporal punishment in the home — as our first case study to delve into the concept of norm cascades. We then showcase 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 theories may be utilized to decrease the use and societal acceptance of child corporal punishment in the home.

Keywords: norms, corporal punishment, children

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 1 (2020), 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

University at Albany (SUNY) ( email )

1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12222
United States

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 )

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
60
Abstract Views
438
rank
400,462
PlumX Metrics