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What makes Law to change Behavior? An experimental study

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  • Romaniuc, Rustam

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Abstract

The use of mild laws to affect people’s behavior is pervasive – from environmental regulation to tort law – but little is known about how the law changes human behavior and social outcomes when it uses non-deterrent monetary incentives. We find that when low monetary incentives are used in tandem with an indication of what one should do (i.e., a norm), then the effect on behavior is positive but transitory. The effect is long lasting when we use low monetary incentives in isolation. This suggests that the indication of what one should do makes salient the conflict between people’s normative expectations and what others effectively do. This undermines conditional cooperators’ own motivation to contribute to public goods. Finally, we compare the effects of mild laws with how mere messages indicating what is moral behavior affect contributions to the public good. Contrary to the existing experimental evidence, we find that messages fail to improve cooperation. We spotlight the conditions under which this is the case.

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  • Romaniuc, Rustam, 2015. "What makes Law to change Behavior? An experimental study," IEL Working Papers 20, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucaiel:20
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    Cited by:

    1. Rustam Romaniuc & Katherine Farrow & Lisette Ibanez & Alain Marciano, 2016. "The perils of government enforcement," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 161-182, January.
    2. Sophie Harnay & Elisabeth Tovar, 2017. "Obeying vs. resisting unfair laws. A structural analysis of the internalization of collective preferences on redistribution using classification trees and random forests," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-34, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.

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