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Do international human rights treaties improve respect for human rights?

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  • Eric Neumayer

Abstract

After the non-binding Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many global and regional human rights treaties have been concluded. Critics argue that these are unlikely to have made any actual difference in reality. Others contend that international regimes can improve respect for human rights in state parties, particularly in more democratic countries or countries with a strong civil society devoted to human rights and with transnational links. Our findings suggest that rarely does treaty ratification have unconditional effects on human rights. Instead, improvement in human rights is typically more likely the more democratic the country or the more international non-governmental organizations its citizens participate in. Conversely, in very autocratic regimes with weak civil society, ratification can be expected to have no effect and is sometimes even associated with more rights violation.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Law and Economics with number 0411003.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2004
Date of revision: 06 Jun 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0411003

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  1. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  2. Eric Neumayer, 2001. "How Regime Theory and the Economic Theory of International Environmental Cooperation Can Learn from Each Other," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 122-147, 02.
  3. Moravcsik, Andrew, 2000. "The Origins of Human Rights Regimes: Democratic Delegation in Postwar Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 217-252, March.
  4. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Seo-Young Cho & Axel Dreher & Eric Neumayer, 2012. "The Determinants of Anti-trafficking Policies: Evidence from a New Index," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 72, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati & Artur Tamazian, 2008. "Impact Of Institutional Quality On Human Rights Abuses In Transition Economies," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp928, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  3. Eric Neumayer & Indra de Soysa, 2007. "Globalisation, Women's Economic Rights and Forced Labour," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(10), pages 1510-1535, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Amanda Murdie & David Davis, 2012. "Looking in the mirror: Comparing INGO networks across issue areas," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 177-202, June.
  6. Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati & K K Shakya Lahiru Pathmalal, 2008. "Exploring The Relationship Between Military Spending & Human Rights Performance In South Asia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp941, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  7. Simon Hug & Richard Lukács, 2014. "Preferences or blocs? Voting in the United Nations Human Rights Council," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 83-106, March.
  8. Magesan, Arvind, 2013. "Human Rights Treaty Ratification of Aid Receiving Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 175-188.
  9. Cho, Seo-Young & Dreher, Axel & Neumayer, Eric, 2011. "The Spread of Anti-Trafficking Policies: Evidence from a New Index," IZA Discussion Papers 5559, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Eric Neumayer, 2013. "Do governments mean business when they derogate? Human rights violations during notified states of emergency," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 1-31, March.
  11. Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2008. "Economic Interest versus Social Conscience Signing Bilateral Investment Treaties – Does Human Rights Matter?," MPRA Paper 15431, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Cho, Seo-Young & Dreher, Axel & Neumayer, Eric, 2010. "The spread of anti-trafficking policies: Evidence from a new index," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 119, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  15. Varun Gauri, 2011. "The cost of complying with human rights treaties: The convention on the rights of the child and basic immunization," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 33-56, March.
  16. Susan Ariel Aaronson & M. Rodwan Abouharb, 2010. "Unexpected Bedfellows: The GATT, the WTO, and Some Democratic Rights," Working Papers 2010-12, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  17. Gauri, Varun & Gloppen, Siri, 2012. "Human rights based approaches to developmen t: concepts, evidence, and policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5938, The World Bank.

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