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Signaling, Legitimacy, and Compliance: A Comment on Posner’s Law and Socia Norms and Criminal Law Policy

Meares, Tracy L.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) University of Richmond Law Review. 36:407.

One way to justify criminal law is in terms of the instrumental ends of deterrence. Hence, many scholars in the field have examined the kinds of criminal law policy that encourage compliance. Tracey Meares has, in particular, explored ways in which different kinds of criminal proscriptions, along with certain methods of law enforcement, could affect crime rates in disadvantaged, urban neighborhoods. She emphasizes classical sociological theory and social psychology rather than economic approaches to crime control. In this context, Meares reflects on Eric Posner’s views on compliance and signaling theory. She finds both affinities between the signaling model and normative theories of compliance, though she finds signaling theory inadequate in certain circumstances.


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