Do Human Rights Treaty Obligations Matter?

52 Pages Posted: 30 May 2019

See all articles by Suzie Mulesky

Suzie Mulesky

University of Southern California - School of International Relations

Wayne Sandholtz

University of Southern California - School of International Relations; University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Date Written: May 2, 2019

Abstract

Why do some human rights treaties receive rapid and near universal commitment from states while others take decades for the majority of states to ratify? Little scholarship to date has analyzed the effects of treaty design, in particular, the substance of treaty obligations, on the likelihood of ratification. We analyze new data that code every provision of ten global human rights treaties for the strength and precision of the obligations they contain. We classify obligations that are strong, precise, and that require domestic action as “demanding.” We hypothesize that treaties containing more of these demanding obligations would be seen as more costly to ratify because they imply potentially greater policy adaptation or compliance costs. Event history analyses are consistent with that hypothesis. The addition of 15 demanding treaty obligations decreases the likelihood of ratification by nearly 20 percent, similar to the effect of moving from democracy to autocracy. This effect is consistent when controlling for various treaty, state, and global level factors that may also influence a state’s decision to ratify.

Suggested Citation

Mulesky, Suzie and Sandholtz, Wayne, Do Human Rights Treaty Obligations Matter? (May 2, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383165 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3383165

Suzie Mulesky (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - School of International Relations ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Wayne Sandholtz

University of Southern California - School of International Relations ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
47
Abstract Views
127
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations while be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information