MTA Law Working Papers

A Jogtudományi Intézet műhelytanulmányai

György Gajduschek: Why People Obey the Law in Hungary? Thoughts over pieces of empirical evidence

The paper is a first attempt of interpreting result of various surveys that seem to contradict the current mainstream scholarly belief that it is procedural fairness in law enforcement that is crucial to legitimate law and authorities that apply law in everyday practice. This approach also argues that sanctioning, applying penalty against those who break the law is highly inefficient (costly and its deterrence effect in fact minimal). Based on Hungarian survey data collected by our team as well as on some other published and unpublished data I will attack the above described theory, at least as a general theory that supposed to be valid anywhere outside the Anglo-American World. Most importantly I will argue that sanctions play a crucial role in determining people’s law-abiding behavior. I am convinced that – despite some comparative attempts to test and prove to theory in a non-Anglo-Saxon context – the theory may be highly ethnocentric, thus, it is questionable if that fits to other social-cultural-legal systems, such as the one in Eastern Europe.