Building on theoretical notions that severe sanctions (more than mild ones) can communicate that sanctioned behavior is morally unacceptable, we argued that particularly authorities who enact the sanction procedures in a fair manner stimulate compliance with their decisions. This is because such authorities should be considered legitimate to communicate what is morally acceptable and unacceptable. This interactive effect of sanction size and procedural fairness on compliance should thus be mediated by moral evaluations of the authority. A field survey and an experiment revealed support for these predictions. These results thus support a non-instrumental perspective on the effectiveness of sanction severity in increasing compliance with authorities.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Compliance, Moral evaluations, Procedural fairness, Sanction severity
JEL Other Substantive Areas of Law: General (jel K30)
Persistent URL,
Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal Journal of Economic Psychology
Verboon, P, & van Dijke, M.H. (2011). When do severe sanctions enhance compliance? The role of procedural fairness. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32(1), 120–130. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2010.09.007