Human Rights Institutions, Sovereignty Costs, and Democratization

28 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 6 Oct 2015

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy

Edward Mansfield

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science

Jon Pevehouse

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Why do countries join international human rights institutions, when membership often yields few material gains and constrains state sovereignty? We argue that entering a human rights institution can yield substantial benefits for democratizing states. Emerging democracies can use the “sovereignty costs” associated with membership to lock in liberal policies and signal their intent to consolidate democracy. We also argue, however, that the magnitude of these costs varies across different human rights institutions, which include both treaties and international organizations. Consistent with this argument, we find that democratizing states tend to join those human rights institutions that impose greater constraints on state sovereignty.

Suggested Citation

Hafner-Burton, Emilie Marie and Mansfield, Edward and Pevehouse, Jon, Human Rights Institutions, Sovereignty Costs, and Democratization (2011). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450445

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton (Contact Author)

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gps.ucsd.edu/ehafner/

Edward Mansfield

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Jon Pevehouse

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

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