The Expressive Powers of Law: Theories and Limits

Author: Richard H. McAdams
Book: The Expressive Powers of Law: Theories and Limits

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When asked why people obey the law, legal scholars usually give two answers: Law deters illicit activities by specifying sanctions, and it possesses legitimate authority in the eyes of society. McAdams shifts the prism on this familiar question to offer another compelling explanation of how the law creates compliance: through its expressive power to coordinate our behavior and inform our beliefs.

People seek order, and they sometimes obtain a mutually shared benefit when each expects the other to…more

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