Chapter 3: Long-term residual effects
In the previous chapter legislators choose to legislate permanently or temporarily based upon transaction cost minimization for short-to medium-term compliance benefits. However, in addition to short-to medium-term compliance benefits, legislators can benefit from long-term compliance that results from the creation of social norms. The present chapter considers the choice between temporary and permanent legislation when this additional benefit is specified in the objective function of legislators. That legislators can create social norms differs from the current law and economics norms research which emphasizes the legislator’s passive role in norm creation. In that literature, legislators create laws for compliance benefits which, in turn, create (or focalize) social norms (Cooter 1998, 2000, McAdams 2000b,a, McAdams and Rasmusen 2005, Feldman 2009). Emphasis is placed upon the law’s role in norm creation. In some cases however, legislators are directly legislating social norms. This is especially visible when legislators nearing retirement could legislate temporarily and save transactions cost, but instead choose to legislate permanently in an attempt to extend normative influence beyond their lawmaking careers.
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