Inside and Outside Perspectives on the Relation of People’s Personal Values and Their Acceptance of Legal Norms


  • Ingwer Borg Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany
  • Dieter Hermann Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany



Based on a representative survey on crime prevention, this paper studies how personal values are related to persons’ acceptance of legal norms (LNA). We here take a closer look at these relations than previous research. Offenses, in particular, are classified into different offense types, and the persons’ ratings are studied both as observed and as individually centered data. It is found that conservation-oriented persons give higher and less differentiated badness ratings to all offenses than persons striving for hedonism and stimulation. The correlational structure of basic personal values and norm acceptance ratings for 14 different offenses, when represented via multidimensional scaling, exhibits that conservation orientation becomes a better predictor of LNA of all offense types if it is augmented by an additional value, peace of mind. When looking at centered ratings (i.e., controlling for each person’s mean ratings), social values become the best predictors of offenses such as tax evasion, benefits fraud, or taking bribes. Statements on the impact of personal values on general norm acceptance should, therefore, be replaced with more differentiated relations on how particular values are related to people’s attitudes towards particular offenses.


Norm acceptance, Legal norms, Norm compliance, Personal values


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How to Cite

Borg, I., & Hermann, D. (2021). Inside and Outside Perspectives on the Relation of People’s Personal Values and Their Acceptance of Legal Norms. Macro Management & Public Policies, 3(4), 1–13.


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