Rewards for Rights Ratification? Testing for Tangible and Intangible Benefits of Human Rights Treaty Ratification

32 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 7 Feb 2012

See all articles by Rich Nielsen

Rich Nielsen

Harvard University

Beth A. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: January 11, 2012

Abstract

Among the explanations for state ratification of human rights treaties, few are more common and widely accepted than the conjecture that states are rewarded for ratification by other states. These rewards are expected to come in the form of tangible benefits - foreign aid, trade, and investment - and intangible benefits such as praise, acceptance, and legitimacy. Surprisingly, these explanations for ratification have never been tested empirically. We summarize and clarify the theoretical underpinnings of - reward-for-ratification‖ theories and test these propositions empirically by looking for increased international financial flows and public praise and recognition following ratification of four prominent human rights treaties. We find almost no evidence that states can expect increased tangible or intangible rewards after ratification. Given the lack of empirical support, explanations rooted in domestic politics seem a more appealing alternative for understanding human rights treaty ratification.

Keywords: International law, human rights

Suggested Citation

Nielsen, Rich and Simmons, Beth A., Rewards for Rights Ratification? Testing for Tangible and Intangible Benefits of Human Rights Treaty Ratification (January 11, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1451630 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1451630

Rich Nielsen (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Beth A. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3501Sansom
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
7817990076 (Phone)

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