Public Reactions to Noncompliance with Judicial Orders

Ryan E. Carlin, Mariana Castrellón, Varun Gauri, Isabel C. Jaramillo Sierra, Jeffrey K. Staton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Constitutions empower people to ask judges for binding orders directing state agents to remedy rights violations, but state agents do not always comply. Scholars propose that by making it easier to observe noncompliance, courts can leverage public pressure for compliance when it exists. Yet, exposure to information about noncompliance might lead individuals to accept high levels of noncompliance and reduce support for judicial remedies. We estimate the rate of noncompliance with judges' orders via a rigorous tracking study of the Colombian tutela. We then embed this rate in three survey experiments fielded with online national quota samples. We show that people find the noncompliance rate in the tutela highly unacceptable regardless of a variety of mitigating factors. We also show that public reactions to this information depend on prior expectations, a finding that stresses the importance of scholarship in cognitive psychology for studies of compliance in law and politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-282
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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