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Police legitimacy and the norm to cooperate: using a mixed effects location-scale model to estimate the strength of social norms at a small spatial scale

Jackson, Jonathan, Brunton-Smith, Ian, Bradford, Ben, Rodrigues Oliveira, Thiago, Posch, Krisztian and Sturgis, Patrick ORCID: 0000-0003-1180-3493 (2020) Police legitimacy and the norm to cooperate: using a mixed effects location-scale model to estimate the strength of social norms at a small spatial scale. Journal of Quantitative Criminology. ISSN 0748-4518

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10940-020-09467-5

Abstract

Objectives: Test whether cooperation with the police can be modelled as a place-based norm that varies in strength from one neighborhood to the next. Estimate whether perceived police legitimacy predicts an individual’s willingness to cooperate in weak-norm neighborhoods, but not in strong-norm neighborhoods where most people are either willing or unwilling to cooperate, irrespective of their perceptions of police legitimacy. Methods: A survey of 1057 individuals in 98 relatively high-crime English neighborhoods defined at a small spatial scale measured (a) willingness to cooperate using a hypothetical crime vignette and (b) legitimacy using indicators of normative alignment between police and citizen values. A mixed-effects, location-scale model estimated the cluster-level mean and cluster-level variance of willingness to cooperate as a neighborhood-level latent variable. A cross-level interaction tested whether legitimacy predicts individual-level willingness to cooperate only in neighborhoods where the norm is weak. Results: Willingness to cooperate clustered strongly by neighborhood. There were neighborhoods with (1) high mean and low variance, (2) high mean and high variance, (3) (relatively) low mean and low variance, and (4) (relatively) low mean and high variance. Legitimacy was only a positive predictor of cooperation in neighborhoods that had a (relatively) low mean and high variance. There was little variance left to explain in neighborhoods where the norm was strong. Conclusions: Findings support a boundary condition of procedural justice theory: namely, that cooperation can be modelled as a place-based norm that varies in strength from neighborhood to neighborhood and that legitimacy only predicts an individual’s willingness to cooperate in neighborhoods where the norm is relatively weak.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.springer.com/journal/10940
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2020 14:24
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2020 10:21
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/105224

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