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The impact of human rights INGO activities on economic sanctions


  • Amanda Murdie


  • Dursun Peksen



What impact do human rights international non-governmental organizations (hereafter HROs) have on the initiation of economic sanctions? The extant literatures on sanctions and transnational non-state groups have largely overlooked the role, if any, the activities of these transnational non-state actors have on the use of economic coercion as a popular policy tool. In this study, we argue that HROs could affect sanction decisions through two distinct mechanisms: information production (“shaming and blaming”) and local empowerment (local presence). By bringing poor human rights performers into the international spotlight, we argue that this effect should hold even after accounting for human rights practices in the targeted countries. Using dyadic data on HROs and economic sanctions, we find robust support for our basic argument that HRO activities increase the likelihood of sanction events against repressive regimes. Additionally, much of the empirical support highlights the role of information production, as opposed to local empowerment, in leading to sanction onset. Overall, our findings indicate that HROs are powerful actors in influencing foreign policy decisions between states. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda Murdie & Dursun Peksen, 2013. "The impact of human rights INGO activities on economic sanctions," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 33-53, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:revint:v:8:y:2013:i:1:p:33-53
    DOI: 10.1007/s11558-012-9146-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dan G. Cox & A. Cooper Drury, 2006. "Democratic Sanctions: Connecting the Democratic Peace and Economic Sanctions," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 43(6), pages 709-722, November.
    2. Kaemfer, William H & Lowenberg, Anton D, 1988. "The Theory of International Economic Sanctions: A Public Choice Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 786-793, September.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:75-90_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Cullen F. Goenner, 2007. "Economic War and Democratic Peace," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(3), pages 171-182, July.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:04:p:905-915_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Edward C. Norton & Hua Wang & Chunrong Ai, 2004. "Computing interaction effects and standard errors in logit and probit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 154-167, June.
    7. Carter, David B. & Signorino, Curtis S., 2010. "Back to the Future: Modeling Time Dependence in Binary Data," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(03), pages 271-292, June.
    8. Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., 2008. "Sticks and Stones: Naming and Shaming the Human Rights Enforcement Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 689-716, October.
    9. Amanda Murdie & Tavishi Bhasin, 2011. "Aiding and Abetting: Human Rights INGOs and Domestic Protest," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(2), pages 163-191, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simone Dietrich & Amanda Murdie, 2017. "Human rights shaming through INGOs and foreign aid delivery," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 95-120, March.
    2. Amanda Murdie & Dursun Peksen, 2015. "Women’s rights INGO shaming and the government respect for women’s rights," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 1-22, March.


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