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    Default Institutional change and public attitudes

    Does institutional change cause or reflect changes in public attitudes?

    Can a vanguard of reformers change institutions and expect public attitudes to change and "catch up" or are changes in institutions playing "catch up" to public attitudes?

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    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Does institutional change cause or reflect changes in public attitudes?
    Institutional change reflects public attitudes, usually. So institutional change plays catch up with public sentiment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Can a vanguard of reformers change institutions and expect public attitudes to change and "catch up" or are changes in institutions playing "catch up" to public attitudes?
    The only time this isn't true is when a group of reformers choose to reform institutions that the public attitude are against. In America, and maybe elsewhere, when reform is accomplished with the president signing it into law and it doesn't get thrown out at a set time frame, I'd say it is highly likely the law will stay in place for some duration (sometimes very long, sometimes very short.)

    In this case, the public sentiment can go in two ways. All I can give are references....

    In short, public sentiment does not follow. And, after a while, the law gets repealed.

    • In the 1920's alcohol was banned from being sold in America. People, nonetheless concocted their own booze to sell and drink. And well, that law was scrapped to put a limit on what age people can drink (age 21,) whether people follow the drinking age or not is a whole different story.


    • In another case, when the interstate highway system in America was in place, speed limits were enacted through the federal government. MANY state governments and the public didn't like it. However, what the federal government did to make the people follow the law is to take away federal money from the states if they were not to follow. So, through this case, most states follow the federal speed limit of ~55mph because they didn't want to lose federal funding for their roads. HOWEVER, in 1995 this law was repealed, allowing states to set their own speed limits in their state.


    For the other, public sentiment does not follow initially, but over time, the public sentiment starts seeing it as law and end up accepting it anyways, even if it is temporary (trying to find some more concrete references.)

    • Here is one. Your local town, county, or state wants to increase sells tax. Most of the public sentiment are against this because sells tax mostly affect a person the more he/she is poor. Initially, there is outrage by the public, people don't want a .025% increase on their sales tax. However, the local town/city decides to pass it anyways. Most people would just accept it grudgingly, especially if it is "temporary."

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