Judicialization and Public Support for Compliance with International Commitments
57 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2022
Date Written: 2022
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: Suggested Citation