Asian Journal of Criminology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 301–303 | Cite as

Reviewer’s Comments to “The Measurement of Legitimacy: a Rush to Judgment?”

  • Mike HoughEmail author

This paper pushes back against the critique of Sun et al.’s analysis of legitimacy offered by Jon Jackson and Ben Bradford, concluding that, “The approaches to the measuring of police legitimacy adopted by Sun et al. (2018) and by Tankebe (2013), and by scholars such as Huq et al. (2017), Tyler (1990) and Tyler and Jackson (2014) both have merits; neither of them is complete and perfect.”

I do not think that this sort of compromise is tenable, even if it is tactful: the two positions are incompatible. You and Justice Tankebe argue that subjective legitimacy as a concept is constituted by procedural justice, distributive justice, effectiveness, lawfulness and effectiveness—i.e., that these concepts are in fact constituent components of legitimacy. The support you offer for this is empirical, in the shape of the relationships observed in your CFAs. This is an example of inductive reasoning, in that the definition of subjective legitimacy has been derived from empirically-observed...


Legitimacy Trust in justice Procedural justice theory 



  1. Huq, A. Z., Jackson, J., & Trinkner, R. (2017). Legitimating practices: revisiting the predicates of police legitimacy. British Journal of Criminology, 57, 1101–1122.Google Scholar
  2. Jackson, J., & Bradford, B. (2019). Blurring the distinction between empirical and normative legitimacy? A methodological commentary on ‘police legitimacy and citizen cooperation in China’. Asian Journal of Criminology., 1–25.
  3. Sun, I. Y., Li, L., Wu, Y., & Hu, R. (2018). Police legitimacy and citizen cooperation in China: testing an alternative model. Asian Journal of Criminology, 13(4), 275–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  5. Tyler, T. R. (1990). Why people obey the law. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawBirkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

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