Monday, December 15, 2014

Hafner-Burton, Mansfield, & Pevehouse: Human Rights Institutions, Sovereignty Costs and Democratization

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton (Univ. of California, San Diego - School of International Relations and Pacific Studies), Edward D. Mansfield (Univ. of Pennsylvania - Political Science), & Jon C.W. Pevehouse (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison - Political Science) have published Human Rights Institutions, Sovereignty Costs and Democratization (British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 1-27, January 2015). Here's the abstract:
Why do countries join international human rights institutions, when membership often yields few material gains and constrains state sovereignty? This article argues that entering a human rights institution can yield substantial benefits for democratizing states. Emerging democracies can use the ‘sovereignty costs’ associated with membership to lock in liberal policies and signal their intent to consolidate democracy. It also argues, however, that the magnitude of these costs varies across different human rights institutions, which include both treaties and international organizations. Consistent with this argument, the study finds that democratizing states tend to join human rights institutions that impose greater constraints on state sovereignty.