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Social Norms and Legal Design

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  • Bruno Deffains
  • Claude Fluet

Abstract

We consider legal obligations against a background of social norms, e.g., societal norms, profes-sional codes of conduct or business standards. Violations of the law trigger reputational sanctions insofar as they signal non-adherence to underlying norms, raising the issue of the design of offences. When society is only concerned with the trade-off between deterrence and enforcement costs, legal standards defining offences should align on underlying norms so long as the latter are not too deficient. When providing productive information to third parties is also a concern, legal standards should either align on underlying norms with fines that trade off deterrence against the provision of information; or legal standards should be more demanding and enforced with purely symbolic sanctions, e.g., public reprimands. Our analysis has implications for general law enforcement and regulatory policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Deffains & Claude Fluet, 2019. "Social Norms and Legal Design," Cahiers de recherche 1902, Centre de recherche sur les risques, les enjeux économiques, et les politiques publiques.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:crrecr:1902
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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Rössler & Tim Friehe, 2020. "Liability, morality, and image concerns in product accidents with third parties," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 295-312, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    : Stigmatization; reputational sanctions; social norms; law enforcement; legal standard; com-pliance; deterrence.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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