The Normative Force of Higher-Order Law: Evidence from Six Countries During the COVID-19 Pandemic

72 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020 Last revised: 20 Feb 2021

See all articles by Adam Chilton

Adam Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Kevin L. Cope

University of Virginia School of Law

Charles Crabtree

University of Michigan - Political Science, Students

Mila Versteeg

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: May 2, 2020

Abstract

An important question in law and political science is whether higher-order law—such as constitutional law and international human rights law—has normative pull with ordinary citizens. An experimental literature has begun to study this question, but methodological obstacles have made it all but impossible to draw consistent conclusions. We study the normative force of constitutional law in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which allows us to overcome some of these common methodological challenges. We administered survey experiments in six countries—the United States, Japan, Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, and China—that assessed support for liberty restrictions designed to combat COVID-19 while experimentally manipulating information about the constitutionality of these policies. We find that law’s normative force of law varies across countries and issues. Respondents in countries with strong constitutional traditions are most willing to be swayed by law, but only for the most coercive policies.

Keywords: COVID-19, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Law, Public Opinion

Suggested Citation

Chilton, Adam and Cope, Kevin L. and Crabtree, Charles and Versteeg, Mila, The Normative Force of Higher-Order Law: Evidence from Six Countries During the COVID-19 Pandemic (May 2, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3591270 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3591270

Adam Chilton (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

Kevin L. Cope

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
WB345
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kevinlcope.com

Charles Crabtree

University of Michigan - Political Science, Students ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Mila Versteeg

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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