The Origins of Human Rights Regimes: Democratic Delegation in Postwar Europe
Most formal international human rights regimes establish international committees and courts that hold governments accountable to their own citizens for purely internal activities. Why would governments establish arrangements so invasive of domestic sovereignty? Two views dominate the literature. “Realist” theories assert that the most powerful democracies coerce or entice weaker countries to accept norms; “ideational” theories maintain that transnational processes of diffusion and persuasion socialize less-democratic governments to accept norms. Drawing on theories of rational delegation, I propose and test a third “republican liberal” view: Governments delegate self-interestedly to combat future threats to domestic democratic governance. Thus it is not mature and powerful democracies, but new and less-established democracies that will most strongly favor mandatory and enforceable human rights obligations. I test this proposition in the case of the European Convention on Human Rights—the most successful system of formal international human rights guarantees in the world today. The historical record of its founding—national positions, negotiating tactics, and confidential deliberations—confirms the republican liberal explanation. My claim that governments will sacrifice sovereignty to international regimes in order to dampen domestic political uncertainty and “lock in” more credible policies is then generalized theoretically and applied to other human rights regimes, coordination of conservative reaction, and international trade and monetary policy.
Volume (Year): 54 (2000)
Issue (Month): 02 (March)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_INO
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:54:y:2000:i:02:p:217-252_44. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
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.