A preliminary version of this paper was circulated as Tyran and Feld (2002). We thank Jordi Brandts, Simon Gächter, Michael Kosfeld, Rupert Sausgruber, as well as participants at seminars at the Universities of Amsterdam, Basle, Bern, Gothenburg and Zürich for helpful comments. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Zaugg Foundation under project no. B11162107.
Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non-deterrent*
Article first published online: 8 MAY 2006
The Scandinavian Journal of Economics
Volume 108, Issue 1, pages 135–156, March 2006
How to Cite
Tyran, J.-R. and Feld, L. P. (2006), Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non-deterrent. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 108: 135–156. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9442.2006.00444.x
- Issue published online: 8 MAY 2006
- Article first published online: 8 MAY 2006
- First version submitted January 2003; final version received February 2005.
- Deterrent effect of legal sanctions;
- expressive law;
- social norms;
- public goods;
Law backed by non-deterrent sanctions (mild law) has been hypothesized to achieve compliance because of norm activation. We experimentally investigate the effects of mild law in the provision of public goods by comparing it to severe law (deterrent sanctions) and no law. The results show that exogenously imposing mild law does not achieve compliance, but compliance is much improved if mild law is endogenously chosen, i.e., self-imposed. We show that voting for mild law induces expectations of cooperation, and that people tend to comply with the law if they expect many others to do so.