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Do international human rights treaties improve respect for human rights?

  • Eric Neumayer

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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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/le/papers/0411/0411003.pdf
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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
Note: Type of Document -
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. 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.
  2. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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