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THE SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT TO VIOLATE THE LAW: LEGAL DISOBEDIENCE AS A PUBLIC VERSUS A PRIVATE REACTION

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Abstract:

This study examined citizens' sense of entitlement to violate the law as a public response to an action of state authorities or as a private response to the harmful behavior of another person. Questionnaires examining sense of entitlement to violate the law, moral reasoning, political orientation and attitudes toward the law were administered to 329 Israeli students. The results show that respondents felt more entitled to violate the law as a public action than as an act of personal retaliation. Public law violation directed toward authorities was found to be most strongly related to political orientation. Nevertheless private law violation directed toward another person is related to the absence of a sense of obligation to comply with the law and to a lack of trust in legal authorities. Moral reasoning and religiosity were found to be indirectly related to both types of law violation. The results are discussed in regard to different types of triggers for law violation.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2003.31.6.545

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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