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Us and them: on the motivational force of formal and informal lockdown rules

Jackson, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-2426-2219 and Bradford, Ben ORCID: 0000-0001-5480-5638 (2021) Us and them: on the motivational force of formal and informal lockdown rules. LSE Public Policy Review, 1 (4). ISSN 2633-4046

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Identification Number: 10.31389/lseppr.24


How do social norms and legal requirements combine to shape collective behaviour? A multi-wave ten-city panel study set during the first UK lockdown finds that compliance was a powerful in-group signalling device, driven by the expressive and coordinating power of formal and informal rules. COVID-19 pandemic laws allowed the Government to operate as an expressive agent, telling people what needed to be done and why. Acting upon mutual expectations for the common good then helped people to coordinate against the virus with a sense of a shared fate and identity. Widespread collective compliance allowed the police to continue to privilege engagement, explanation and encouragement over heavy-handed enforcement tactics that damage their popular legitimacy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 12:09
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2023 12:42

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