Experimentally Testing the Effectiveness of Human Rights Treaties
18 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2015 Last revised: 13 May 2017
Date Written: April 14, 2017
International human rights law is a field concerned with causality. While scholars in other fields argue about how laws can be changed to maximize their effectiveness, scholars of international human rights law still regularly debate whether the major international agreements have had any effect on state behavior. Part of the reason that this threshold question is still contested is that there are a number of barriers to causal inference that make answering it with observational data incredibly difficult. Given these obstacles to using observational data, and the importance of the topic, scholars have begun to use experimental methods to study the effects of commitments to human rights agreements. This Essay discusses the motivations behind the limited experimental work on human rights, the mechanisms that are being tested, and the findings of this emerging literature.
Keywords: Human Rights, International Law, Experiments, Treaties
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