Judicialization and Public Support for Compliance with International Commitments

57 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2022

See all articles by Harlan Grant Cohen

Harlan Grant Cohen

University of Georgia School of Law; University of Georgia - Dean Rusk International Law Center

Ryan Powers

University of Georgia

Date Written: 2022

Abstract

What effect does judicializing international commitments have on incentives to comply with international law? We study this question using experiments embedded in a survey of the American public. We find that non-compliance signals from an international court work precisely as theories of non-compliance anticipate, raising perceptions of legal obligation and support for returning to compliance relative to non-compliance signals from foreign state parties (i.e., the “victims” in a given dispute). At the same time, we find that signals from courts are no more (and no less) effective in generating public support for returning to compliance than identical non-compliance signals sent by international organizations or domestic political elites. These results suggest that courts are not uniquely positioned to shape the politics of compliance and that the often-rancorous debates over institutional design may be just as much conflicts over institutional control as they are conflicts over institutional forms or labels.

Keywords: International Law, international commitments

JEL Classification: k33

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Harlan Grant and Powers, Ryan, Judicialization and Public Support for Compliance with International Commitments (2022). University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4049218 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4049218

Harlan Grant Cohen (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

Hirsch Hall
Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-5166 (Phone)

University of Georgia - Dean Rusk International Law Center ( email )

100 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602-6018
United States

Ryan Powers

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ryanpowers.net

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