Political Institutions and Human Rights: Why Dictatorships Enter into the United Nations Convention Against Torture
AbstractThis article addresses a puzzle: dictatorships that practice torture are more likely to accede to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) than dictatorships that do not practice torture. I argue the reason has to do with the logic of torture. Torture is more likely to occur where power is shared. In one-party or no-party dictatorships, few individuals defect against the regime. Consequently, less torture occurs. But dictatorships are protorture regimes; they have little interest in making gestures against torture, such as signing the CAT. There is more torture where power is shared, such as where dictatorships allow multiple political parties. Alternative political points of view are endorsed, but some individuals go too far. More acts of defection against the regime occur, and torture rates are higher. Because political parties exert some power, however, they pressure the regime to make concessions. One small concession is acceding to the CAT.For detailed suggestions, I thank Rodwan Abouharb, Emanuel Adler, Lawrence Broz, Jos Cheibub, David Cingranelli, Jennifer Gandhi, Geoff Garrett, Valerie Frey, Stephan Haggard, Oona Hathaway, Darren Hawkins, Stathis Kalyvas, Judith Kelley, Paul Lagunes, Jeffrey Lewis, Ellen Lust-Okar, Nikolay Marinov, Lisa Martin, Covadonga Meseguer, Layna Mosley, Louis Pauly, Daniel Posner, Kal Raustiala, Dan Reiter, Darius Rejali, Ronald Rogowski, Peter Rosendorff, Mike Tomz, Jana Von Stein, Christine Wotipka, and especially the two anonymous reviewers. I am also grateful for comments from participants at the Kellogg Institute International Political Economy Seminar at Notre Dame; the UCLA International Institute Global Fellows Seminar; the University of Southern California Center for International Studies Workshop; the UCSD Project on International Affairs Seminar; and the Emory University Globalization, Institutions, and Conflict Seminar. For support, I thank the UCLA International Institute, the ETH Zurich, and the University of Puerto Rico, R o Piedras.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.
Volume (Year): 62 (2008)
Issue (Month): 01 (January)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU UK
Fax: +44 (0)1223 325150
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_INOProvider-Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Axel Dreher & Bernhard Boockmann, 2007.
"Do Human Rights Offenders Oppose Human Rights Resolutions in the United Nations?,"
KOF Working papers
07-163, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
- Bernhard Boockmann & Axel Dreher, 2011. "Do human rights offenders oppose human rights resolutions in the United Nations?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 443-467, March.
- Kristian Skrede Gleditsch & Simon Hug & Livia Isabella Schubiger & Julian Wucherpfennig, 2011. "International Conventions and Non-State Actors: Selection, Signaling, and Reputation Effects," HiCN Working Papers 108, Households in Conflict Network.
- Dreher, Axel & Gassebner, Martin & Siemers, Lars-H. R., 2010.
"Globalization, economic freedom and human rights,"
Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers
115, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
- Cho, Seo-Young & Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2012. "Compliance with the Anti-trafficking Protocol," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 249-265.
- Cho, Seo-young & Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2010. "Compliance for big brothers: An empirical analysis on the impact of the anti-trafficking protocol," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 118, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
- Songying Fang & Erica Owen, 2011. "International institutions and credible commitment of non-democracies," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 141-162, July.
- Christian Bjørnskov & Jacob Mchangama, 2013. "Do Social Rights Affect Social Outcomes?," Economics Working Papers 2013-18, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.