Theory of social proof and legal compliance: A socio-cognitive explanation for regulatory (Non) compliance

Roy, Shubhangi (2021) Theory of social proof and legal compliance: A socio-cognitive explanation for regulatory (Non) compliance. German Law Journal, 22 (2). pp. 238-255. ISSN 2071-8322

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Challenging the assumption of perfect legal knowledge, this Article employs social psychology to better understand how individuals make decisions about legal compliance under imperfect information condi�tions. It adapts the informational aspects of “social influence conception of criminal deterrence” to regulatory compliance at large. However, it conceptualizes social influence as more than just “visible deterrence.” Social Psychology helps us to understand who, how many, and what kind of behaviors con�stitute adequate social proof to guide an individual’s decision on compliance. Additionally, the interaction
of social proof and legal compliance is considered within a dynamic framework in relation to specific rules and across the system. Within this framework, compliance/non-compliance cascades across different rules and can create a perception about legal compliance at large, which in turn guides initial expectations with respect to new laws. Over time, this can create high/low compliance equilibriums within which societies operate. Understanding this informational role that social influence plays in legal compliance can further our understanding of what motivates compliance, the potency of the expressive functions of law in societies operating within different compliance equilibriums, and inform policy discussions on how to improve compliance—both voluntary and through sanction/incentives.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Social Proof | Legal compliance | Compliance Cascades | Social Influence
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Amees Mohammad
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2022 05:58
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2022 05:58
Official URL:


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