United Nations Endorsement & Support for Human Rights: An Experiment on Women's Rights in Pakistan

48 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2016 Last revised: 11 Apr 2016

Gulnaz Anjum

Institute of Business Administration (IBA)

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Zahid Usman

Quaid-i-Azam University

Date Written: April 10, 2016

Abstract

The United Nations is the organization charged with developing and promoting international human rights law. One of the primary ways that the United Nations tries to do that is by regularly reviewing the human rights practices of member states and then recommending new policies for that state to implement. Although this expends considerable resources, a number of obstacles have made it difficult to empirically assess whether the United Nations’ review process actually causes countries to improve their human rights practices. In order to study this topic, we conducted an experiment in Pakistan that tested whether respondents were more likely to support policies aimed at improving women’s rights when they learned that the reforms were proposed by the United Nations. Our results indicate that the respondents who were randomly informed of the United Nations endorsement not only expressed higher support for the policy reforms, but also were more likely to express willingness to “mobilize” in ways that would help the reforms be implemented. Our treatment did not have any effect, however, on respondents that did not already have confidence in the United Nations. This suggests that the international human rights regime may only be able to aid domestic reformers when there is already faith in those institutions.

Keywords: Human Rights, United Nations, Women’s Rights, International Law, Experimental Research

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Anjum, Gulnaz and Chilton, Adam S. and Usman, Zahid, United Nations Endorsement & Support for Human Rights: An Experiment on Women's Rights in Pakistan (April 10, 2016). University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 747; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 563. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2736680 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2736680

Gulnaz Anjum

Institute of Business Administration (IBA) ( email )

University Road
Karachi, Sindh 75270
Pakistan

Adam S. Chilton (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

Zahid Usman

Quaid-i-Azam University ( email )

3rd Avenue
Islamabad, Islamabad 44000
Pakistan

Paper statistics

Downloads
103
Rank
215,654
Abstract Views
453