A Behavioral Approach to Human Rights

62 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2009 Last revised: 10 Jul 2018

See all articles by Andrew Keane Woods

Andrew Keane Woods

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Date Written: April 2, 2009


For the last sixty years, scholars and practitioners of international human rights have paid insufficient attention to the ground level social contexts in which human rights norms are imbued with or deprived of social meaning. During the same time period, social science insights have shown that social conditions can have a significant impact on human behavior. This Article is the first to investigate the far ranging implications of behavioralism, especially behavioral insights about social influence, for the international human rights regime. It explores design implications for three broad components of the regime: the content, adjudication, and implementation of human rights. In addition, the Article addresses some of the advantages and limitations of the behavioral approach and identifies the rich but unexplored nexus of behavioralism, norms, and international law.

Keywords: human rights, international law, behavioralism, behavioral, behavior, social science, empirical, psychology

Suggested Citation

Woods, Andrew Keane, A Behavioral Approach to Human Rights (April 2, 2009). Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, Winter 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1424468

Andrew Keane Woods (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

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