Proceedings of The 11th International Conference on Research in Behavioral and Social Sciences
Harnessing Behavioral Tools for Effective Legal Compliance: A Paradigm Shift in Law and Public Policy
The law is a complex matter consisting of numerous orders, prohibitions, and entitlements that the legal subjects are required to know (Hart, 2012). The rule of law demands that legal agents are familiar with the law to obey it (Fuller, 1969). However, an impelling question emerges: are state coercion and the threat of sanctions alone enough to enforce compliance with the law effectively? Moreover, is it right and effective to formulate laws tailored for legal subjects with the assumption that people behave like homo oeconomicus (Posner, 1998)?
The legislator, when choosing ways to reach the legal recipient with regulations, should take into account such phenomena as availability bias (Tversky & Kahneman, 1973), cognitive load (Sweller, 1988), friction costs (Sunstein, 2013), primacy (Murdock, 1962), social norm (Cialdini, 2003), and recency effect (Glanzer & Cunitz, 1966), because adjusting the message based on knowledge of these phenomena makes it easier for the recipient to understand the message and eventually make a good decision.
Legislators should use the following tools when formulating public policies: checklists(Gawande, 2010), framing effect (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981), salience (Fiske & Taylor, 2013), simplification (Gigerenzer, 2008), head start (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008), identifiable effect (Jenni & Loewenstein, 1997), relative ranking (Ariely, 2008), and prompts (McKenzie-Mohr, 2000) to increase the persuasive power of the message. Contemporary awareness of responses to specific stimuli should not be ignored by the legislator in the process of law application, as skillful use of this knowledge can bring considerable benefits (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008).
keywords: behavioral legislation, compliance, legal subjects, nudge, policy tools