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Research Seminar | New Democracies and Commitment to Human Rights Treaties

Monday December 11, 2023, from 12:00 to 13:30
Room 24.120 (First Floor). Mercè Rodoreda 24 Building. UPF Ciutadella
Research seminar

Xinyuan Dai (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). ChairEva Michaels (IBEI)

One of the most influential arguments suggests that new democracies are more inclined than others to commit to international human rights treaties. This paper examines whether new democracies are more likely to commit not only to the basic, but also to the more demanding and constraining treaties. The authors argue that, despite the strategic utility of costly commitment, new democracies are often unwilling to pay for the elevated level of cost in the more demanding and constraining treaties. They test their argument by tackling some of the trickiest inferential challenges. They employ propensity score weighting to address non-random assignment of new democracies and further specify marginal structural models to account for dynamic confounding. Their analyses reveal intriguing findings. While new democracies commit to the broad human rights conventions more quickly, they are more reluctant than established democracies to commit to the more demanding and constraining protocols.

Xinyuan Dai is Professor of Political Science at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2000. She is the author of International Institutions and National Policies (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in leading journals, including American Political Science Review, World Politics, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and International Studies Quarterly. Some of her recent work won Best Paper Award from American Political Science Association Human Rights Section.