Rule Conditionality in Comparison: Understanding Variation and Effects of Justifications for Violating the Law


Rule Conditionality assesses whether people see acceptable conditions for breaking legal rules. In a first study amongst 808 law students from China, the Netherlands, the USA, and Israel, we examine whether variation in Rule Conditionality is determined by national context or by psychosocial differences. Findings suggest that moral firmness and moral disengagement, but not national contexts, explain differences in Rule Conditionality. In a second study amongst 216 students in the USA and in China, we examine whether Rule Conditionality has different effects on hypothetical compliance behavior. Findings suggest that Rule Conditionality has a different effect on behavior in each country. These studies suggest that although Rule Conditionality itself does not vary across national contexts, its effects on compliance behavior are contingent on the national context. Rule Conditionality is a key predictor of voluntary compliance in the USA, whereas social norms better predict voluntary compliance in China.

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