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Legitimacy and Criminal JusticeAn International Exploration$
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Justice Tankebe and Alison Liebling

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701996.001.0001

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Does Low Legitimacy Cause Crime? A Review Of The Evidence

Does Low Legitimacy Cause Crime? A Review Of The Evidence

Chapter:
(p.308) 15 Does Low Legitimacy Cause Crime? A Review Of The Evidence
Source:
Legitimacy and Criminal Justice
Author(s):

Manuel Eisner

Amy Nivette

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701996.003.0016

Some scholars argue that legitimacy (i.e. the right to rule) should be at the core of criminology as the science of rule making, rule breaking and rule enforcement (Bottoms & Tankebe, 2012; LaFree, 1998; Tyler, 1990). The claim is that legitimacy is a crucial theoretical construct for understanding the link between social order and crime, for explaining the motivations behind compliance with the law, and in bridging the gap between macro- and micro explanations of crime. This chapter reviews the empirical literature on whether legitimacy predicts crime. Findings suggest a weak effect in the predicted direction. However, it also identifies a number of limitations that future research should address. They include: 1) more consistent operationalisation of legitimacy, 2) better statistical control for potential confounding factors, 3) tests for alternative assumptions of the causal order between legitimacy and crime, 4) integration of macro- and micro-level research, and 5) more cross-cultural comparison.

Keywords:   political legitimacy, procedural justice, homicide, self-regulation

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