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Is There An Expressive Function of Law? An Empirical Analysis of Voting Laws with Symbolic Fines

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  • Patricia Funk

Abstract

This article empirically investigates whether law affects behavior beyond deterrence ("expressive function of law"). With Swiss panel data, I find that the legal abolition of the voting duty significantly decreased average turnout, even though the fines for not voting have only been symbolic. As for the size of Cantonal turnout reduction, it widely differs between the Cantons and is highly correlated with voter participation before the removal of the voting duty. In contrast to the voting duty, the introduction of postal voting did not affect voter turnout in spite of the substantial decrease in transaction costs. Therefore, in public good areas such as voting, even a sanctionless law targeting at the civic duty might have a bigger impact on behavior than actions which affect the costs of provision for the public good. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 9 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 135-159

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Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:9:y:2007:i:1:p:135-159

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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Engel & Michael Kurschilgen, 2011. "The Coevolution of Behavior and Normative Expectations. Customary Law in the Lab," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2011_32, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  2. Riedel, Nadine & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2013. "Asymmetric obligations," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 67-80.
  3. J. Atsu Amegashie & Bazoumana Ouattara, 2011. "An Empirical Inquiry into the Nature of Welfarism," CESifo Working Paper Series 3318, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2012. "Laws and Norms," IZA Discussion Papers 6290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Adams, Renée B. & Ferreira, Daniel, 2008. "Do directors perform for pay?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 154-171, September.
  6. Paul Shum & Sharon Yam, 2011. "Ethics and Law: Guiding the Invisible Hand to Correct Corporate Social Responsibility Externalities," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(4), pages 549-571, February.
  7. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2012. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 368-425, June.
  8. Samuel Bowles & Sandra Polania-Reyes, 2011. "Economic incentives and social preferences: substitutes or complements?," Department of Economics University of Siena 617, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  9. Frank Fagan, 2013. "After the sunset: the residual effect of temporary legislation," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 209-226, August.
  10. Xiao, Erte, 2013. "Profit-seeking punishment corrupts norm obedience," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 321-344.

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