American’s are polarized in their views about a variety of social and economic issues. This raises the question how political and legal institutions can develop policies and practices that will be accepted by all the various sides to a public controversy. One approach is to build legitimacy, since people are generally more willing to defer to legitimate authorities. The results of a study in which people are asked about their willingness to accept decisions made by the Supreme Court or Congress suggests that the process through which institutions make policy decisions shapes deference in ways that are distinct from the perceived desirability of the decisions themselves. In particular, institutions gain public deference when they are perceived to consider people’s needs and concerns and respect their values. These findings point to the importance of addressing these issues when explaining the process involved in making a political or judicial decision.
Tom Tyler & Margarita Krochick,
Deference to Authority as a Basis for Managing Ideological Conflict,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol88/iss2/9