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Do Human Rights Offenders Oppose Human Rights Resolutions in the United Nations?

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Abstract

We investigate voting behavior on human rights in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Our central question is whether countries with a low human rights record systematically oppose human rights resolutions. An instrumental account of voting would suggest that these countries aim to weaken UN human rights resolutions since they could be future targets of these policies. If reputation aspects and other non-instrumental motives dominate, the influence can go in either direction. We estimate determinants of voting on the basis of 13,000 individual voting decisions from 1980 to 2002. Our results from ordered probit estimation show that a country’s human rights situation is irrelevant to voting behavior if regional dependence of voting is controlled for. This suggests that countries’ voting decisions are not made independently from each other. The results also show that simple rules for aggregating voting choices can lead to misleading results.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 07-163.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:07-163

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Keywords: Voting; Human Rights; United Nations; Instrumental Voting;

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Cited by:
  1. Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Islam and Democracy," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2010-10, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  2. Indra Soysa & Krishna Vadlammanati, 2013. "Do pro-market economic reforms drive human rights violations? An empirical assessment, 1981–2006," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(1), pages 163-187, April.
  3. Axel Dreher & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2012. "Do the IMF and the World Bank influence voting in the UN General Assembly?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 363-397, April.

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