CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, July 19, 2013

Tyler & Jackson on Popular Legitimacy and Legal Authority

Tom Tyler and Jonathan Jackson (Yale University - Law School and London School of Economics & Political Science: Department of Methodology) have posted Popular Legitimacy and the Exercise of Legal Authority: Motivating Compliance, Cooperation and Engagement on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The traditional goal of legal authorities has been to obtain widespread public compliance with the law and legal directives. Empirical research findings have shown that legitimacy – typically operationalized as felt obligation to obey authorizes and trust and confidence in the relevant institutions – plays an important role in achieving such compliance. But over time the goals of legal authorities have broadened in two ways. First, they increasingly include the desire to motivate willing cooperation between legal authorities and members of the public working together to produce social order. This willing cooperation includes public willingness to authorize legal authorities to manage issues of order in the community, as well as a public motivation to aid the police and courts by reporting crime and criminals and working with the legal system in furthering their prosecution. Second, conceptions of the goals of the legal system have broadened to include the importance of promoting public engagement in communities in efforts to build social, political and economic vitality. Drawing on these broader goals – and building upon recent conceptual and methodological advances in the meaning and measurement of legitimacy – we report findings from a major new national survey of US citizens. We examine the role that legitimacy plays in achieving each of these goals of law and in defining the policies and practices of the police and courts which influence legitimacy. Importantly, we also consider whether a focus on achieving this broader set of goals leads to a need to reexamine the traditional theoretical conception of legitimacy. Our findings support the utility of a multidimensional conception of legitimacy that differentiates between consent to authority and normative justifiability of power.

| Permalink


Post a comment