Why People Obey the Law
Tom R. Tyler

With a new afterword by the author

Editions

People obey the law if they believe it's legitimate, not because they fear punishment--this is the startling conclusion of Tom Tyler's classic study. Tyler suggests that lawmakers and law enforcers would do much better to make legal systems worthy of respect than to try to instill fear of punishment. He finds that people obey law primarily because they believe in respecting legitimate authority.

In his fascinating new afterword, Tyler brings his book up to date by reporting on new research into the relative importance of legal legitimacy and deterrence, and reflects on changes in his own thinking since his book was first published.

Tom R. Tyler is University Professor at New York University, teaching in the Psychology Department and the Law School. He studies the exercise of authority in groups, organizations, and societies. His many books include The Social Psychology of Procedural Justice, Social Justice in a Diverse Society, Cooperation in Groups, and Trust in the Law.