Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Are Dictators Immune to Human Rights Shaming?

IBEI Working Papers 2009/25

40 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2009  

Joseph Wright

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science

Abel Escribà-Folch

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Date Written: October 2009

Abstract

This paper examines whether human rights naming and shaming destabilizes the rule of authoritarian leaders. We argue that human rights shaming can destabilize autocratic leaders by signaling international disapproval to elites in the targeted country, increasing their capacity to replace the incumbent. In personalist regimes, shaming increases the risk of irregular exit because regime elite do not have a means to peacefully replace the incumbent. Shaming campaigns also decrease foreign aid and international trade in personalist regimes, denying the leader access to resources to pay his coalition – further destabilizing his rule. In non-personalist regimes where parties or the military allow elites to peacefully replace incumbents, human rights shaming increases the risk of regular turnover of power, but has little effect on the risk of irregular exit or international flows of aid and trade. These findings have implications for understanding when and where shaming campaigns are likely to reduce or deter repression.

Keywords: dictatorship, human rights, shaming campaigns, survival, regular and irregular exit

Suggested Citation

Wright, Joseph and Escribà-Folch, Abel, Are Dictators Immune to Human Rights Shaming? (October 2009). IBEI Working Papers 2009/25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1483607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1483607

Joseph Wright

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

133 Willard Building
University Park, PA 16802-2800
United States

Abel Escribà-Folch (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Paper statistics

Downloads
139
Rank
179,424
Abstract Views
634