The Independent Review
(Quarterly Journal)
Policy Reports
The Lighthouse
(Email Newsletter)
Commentary Articles
News Releases
Audio and Visual Programs
The Independent
(Quarterly Newsletter)
Research Articles
Working Papers
Course Adoption Program


Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

Your participation will advance liberty. Join us as an Independent Institute member.

Contact Us
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428

510-632-1366 Phone
510-568-6040 Fax
Send us email

Interested in working with us?  Click here for more information.

Working Paper #33

Do Good Laws Make Good Citizens?
An Economic Analysis of Internalizing Legal Values


Abstract: How important is the internalization of values by citizens to the effectiveness of the state? Civic acts by citizens help the state to overcome potentially crippling agency problems. Law influences the behavior of citizens through expression, deterrence, and internalization. Distinguishing these effects shows the importance of each, and also shows why the state can express and deter more easily than it can induce citizens to internalize values. In a rational, self-interested theory of the internalization of values, people change their preferences to increase their opportunities for cooperation with others. Since officials have remote relationships with citizens in modern states, the state lacks the information needed to reward virtuous citizens. Instead of promoting civic virtue directly, the state must rely on families, friends, and colleagues to encourage civic virtue. To achieve this goal, the state must first align law with the social norms that facilitate private cooperation.

Home | About Us | Blogs | Issues | Newsroom | Multimedia | Events | Publications | Centers | Students | Store | Donate

Product Catalog | RSS | Jobs | Course Adoption | Links | Privacy Policy | Site Map
Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook
Copyright 2015 The Independent Institute