de Puiseau, Berenike Waubert, Gloeckner, Andreas and Towfigh, Emanuel V. ORCID: 0000-0001-6323-8540 (2019). Integrating theories of law obedience: How utility-theoretic factors, legitimacy, and lack of self-control influence decisions to commit low-level crimes. Judgm. Decis. Mak., 14 (3). S. 318 - 335. TALLAHASSEE: SOC JUDGMENT & DECISION MAKING. ISSN 1930-2975

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Abstract

We conducted two studies using a sample of students (Experiment 1, N=84) and the general public (Experiment 2, N=412) to assess the relative and unique effects of factors suggested by three major theories of law obedience: a utility-theoretic deterrence theory (Becker, 1968), the general theory of crime (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990), and the legitimacy model (Tyler, 1990). Six different types of low-level crime were considered. The probability of breaking the law increases with factors predicted by each of these theories, namely detection probability, expected fine, self-control, and legitimacy. All four factors uniquely contribute to predicting law obedience, effects are mainly additive, and no stable interaction effects are observed. The relative influence of the investigated factors varies between types of low-level crimes. This indicates that an integrative theory of why people obey the law needs to consider factors from various theories and allow for the relative influence of factors to differ among crimes. We observe systematic deviations from a basic utility-theoretic approach to law breaking. Individuals' tendency to obey the law is much higher than predicted by an approach taking into account detection probability, expected fines, and benefits only. The robust effects of interindividual differences concerning legitimacy and self-control as well as the finding that the tendency to break the law decreases with increasing benefit of the crime also conflict with a basic utility-theoretic approach to law-obedience.

Item Type: Journal Article
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
de Puiseau, Berenike WaubertUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Gloeckner, AndreasUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Towfigh, Emanuel V.UNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0001-6323-8540UNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-149301
Journal or Publication Title: Judgm. Decis. Mak.
Volume: 14
Number: 3
Page Range: S. 318 - 335
Date: 2019
Publisher: SOC JUDGMENT & DECISION MAKING
Place of Publication: TALLAHASSEE
ISSN: 1930-2975
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
KeywordsLanguage
PROCEDURAL JUSTICE; GENERAL-THEORY; INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES; RATIONAL CHOICE; EMPIRICAL-TEST; DETERRENCE; POLICE; PEOPLE; METAANALYSIS; GOTTFREDSONMultiple languages
Psychology, MultidisciplinaryMultiple languages
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/14930

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