Chen, Daniel L. and Yeh, Susan (2022) How do rights revolutions occur? Free speech and the first amendment. TSE Working Paper, n. 22-1396, Toulouse

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Does obscenity law corrode moral values and does it matter? Using random judge assignment and all U.S. obscenity precedents since 1958, we present four main results. Progressive laws liberalized sexual attitudes and behaviors, reduced child abuse, but increased asymptomatic STDs. We document that newspapers reported on obscenity cases. We then assign data entry workers to transcribe randomly allocated newsreports and find that exposure to progressive law shifts attitudes. Second-order norm shifts are consistent with a model where laws sanctioning activity increase its perceived prevalence, and laws shape values when sanctioned activities are prevalent. Deterrence does not solely mediate law’s impacts.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Language: English
Date: December 2022
Place of Publication: Toulouse
Uncontrolled Keywords: Law and norms, expressive law, cultural change
JEL Classification: J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
N32 - U.S.; Canada - 1913-
Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Institution: Université Toulouse 1 Capitole
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2022 13:53
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 07:42
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