Leadership Change and Human Rights Violations
Keith E. Schnakenberg
Washington University in Saint Louis
Christopher J. Fariss
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
February 19, 2010
This article investigates how leadership change in a country influences the use of governmental repression of human rights to physical integrity. Data were drawn from the Cingranelli and Richards (2008) human rights data (CIRI), the Goemans, Gleditsch and Chiozza (2009) Archigos data set of political leaders, Marshall, Jaggers and Gurr (2003) Polity IV data, and the data set from Poe, Rost, Carey (2006) for all countries from 1990 to 2004 (n=2787). Analyses were conducted using an ordered logistic regression model with crossed random effects to account for heterogeneity across countries and years. We find that countries that experience an extra-constitutional leadership change see an initial spike in governmental repression, which decays over time. Leader transitions that occur through normal institutionalized mechanisms have little impact on governmental human rights practices. We demonstrate the robustness of the results with two treatment effect models. This research provides new insights into the processes by which leaders make political choices as they work to consolidate power after extra-constitutional leadership change. We demonstrate further that these choices change over the course of the leader's tenure.
Keywords: human rights, leadership change, regime changeworking papers series
Date posted: January 16, 2010
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