Symmetric and Asymmetric Motivations for Compliance and Violation: A Crisp Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (csQCA) of Chinese farmers


This article applies crisp set qualitative comparative analysis (csQCA) to gain insight in the compliance motivations and compliance behaviours of 101 Chinese farmers. It seeks to understand how eight motivations (capacity to comply, legal knowledge, deterrent effect of sanctions, cost-benefit analysis, descriptive social norms, morals, general duty to obey, and procedural justice) combine in compliant and non-compliant behaviour, and whether there is only one combination of motivations or several that lead to compliance and non-compliance . It illustrates how csQCA assists in making visible and analyzing situations of interacting compliance motivations (conjunctural causality) and situations where different combinations of motivations result in similar compliance behaviour (equifinality). It identifies symmetrical and non-symmetrical relationships between specific compliance motivations and compliance behaviours — indicating that motivations for non-compliance are not necessarily the opposite of those for compliance. This non-symmetry may logically be explained because deterrence plays a different role in compliance decisions than in non-compliance decisions. The article concludes by highlighting the relevance of such insights for theorizing on compliance and for law enforcement, and the limitations of the method applied.

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