General Duty to Obey the Law

Yuval Feldman, Shaul Shalvi, Yan Huiqi, Li Na, Wu Yunmei,  Benjamin van Rooij 

In this project, the Long Institute seeks to understand the so-called “General duty to obey the law.” This is the idea that people obey legal rules regardless of circumstances such as the content of the law, the costs of compliance or whether the law is enforced or not. In this concept people do so simply because it is the law.

This project looks first at how different Chinese actors (including lawyers, law students, farmers, construction workers and restaurant staff) perceive and explain such general duty to obey the law. Second, it compares the perceptions law students from China, the U.S., the Netherlands and Israel have about such general duty to obey the law. Academically, the study adds to literature in legal philosophy and comparative law, as well as to studies about compliance and white collar crime. Practically, the study will help to better understand forms of voluntary compliance and the cultural, legal, political and personality conditions under which this can develop.

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