Honey v. vinegar: Testing compliance-gaining theories in the context of freedom of information laws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Freedom of information laws are useful to the extent that they are followed. This study, based on compliance-gaining theories, employs two field experiments to examine the effect of persuasion tactics and litigation threats on agency adherence to public records laws. In Study 1, a journalist requested use-of-force reports from all police agencies in a state, mailing agencies either friendly or threatening letters, randomly assigned. In Study 2, a journalist requested superintendent contracts from school districts, mailing agencies randomly assigned versions of friendly, neutral or threatening letters. In both experiments the threatening letter resulted in slightly higher response rates, lower copy fees and faster response times, however, the friendly letter resulted in more helpful behavior from agencies. The article concludes by discussing implications for journalists, compliance-gaining theory in a legal realm, and freedom of information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-229
Number of pages27
JournalCommunication Law and Policy
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Fingerprint

freedom of information
journalist
Law
Testing
Law enforcement
Experiments
experiment
persuasion
fee
tactics
police
district
threat
Compliance
school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Communication

Cite this

Honey v. vinegar : Testing compliance-gaining theories in the context of freedom of information laws. / Cuillier, David L.

In: Communication Law and Policy, Vol. 15, No. 3, 06.2010, p. 203-229.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{277de2f10d6446a08f28315ffb384d03,
title = "Honey v. vinegar: Testing compliance-gaining theories in the context of freedom of information laws",
abstract = "Freedom of information laws are useful to the extent that they are followed. This study, based on compliance-gaining theories, employs two field experiments to examine the effect of persuasion tactics and litigation threats on agency adherence to public records laws. In Study 1, a journalist requested use-of-force reports from all police agencies in a state, mailing agencies either friendly or threatening letters, randomly assigned. In Study 2, a journalist requested superintendent contracts from school districts, mailing agencies randomly assigned versions of friendly, neutral or threatening letters. In both experiments the threatening letter resulted in slightly higher response rates, lower copy fees and faster response times, however, the friendly letter resulted in more helpful behavior from agencies. The article concludes by discussing implications for journalists, compliance-gaining theory in a legal realm, and freedom of information.",
author = "Cuillier, {David L}",
year = "2010",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1080/10811680.2010.489842",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "15",
pages = "203--229",
journal = "Communication Law and Policy",
issn = "1081-1680",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Honey v. vinegar

T2 - Testing compliance-gaining theories in the context of freedom of information laws

AU - Cuillier, David L

PY - 2010/6

Y1 - 2010/6

N2 - Freedom of information laws are useful to the extent that they are followed. This study, based on compliance-gaining theories, employs two field experiments to examine the effect of persuasion tactics and litigation threats on agency adherence to public records laws. In Study 1, a journalist requested use-of-force reports from all police agencies in a state, mailing agencies either friendly or threatening letters, randomly assigned. In Study 2, a journalist requested superintendent contracts from school districts, mailing agencies randomly assigned versions of friendly, neutral or threatening letters. In both experiments the threatening letter resulted in slightly higher response rates, lower copy fees and faster response times, however, the friendly letter resulted in more helpful behavior from agencies. The article concludes by discussing implications for journalists, compliance-gaining theory in a legal realm, and freedom of information.

AB - Freedom of information laws are useful to the extent that they are followed. This study, based on compliance-gaining theories, employs two field experiments to examine the effect of persuasion tactics and litigation threats on agency adherence to public records laws. In Study 1, a journalist requested use-of-force reports from all police agencies in a state, mailing agencies either friendly or threatening letters, randomly assigned. In Study 2, a journalist requested superintendent contracts from school districts, mailing agencies randomly assigned versions of friendly, neutral or threatening letters. In both experiments the threatening letter resulted in slightly higher response rates, lower copy fees and faster response times, however, the friendly letter resulted in more helpful behavior from agencies. The article concludes by discussing implications for journalists, compliance-gaining theory in a legal realm, and freedom of information.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77954323667&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77954323667&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/10811680.2010.489842

DO - 10.1080/10811680.2010.489842

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:77954323667

VL - 15

SP - 203

EP - 229

JO - Communication Law and Policy

JF - Communication Law and Policy

SN - 1081-1680

IS - 3

ER -