28 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 6 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2011
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: 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