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Do national legislatures constitute a mechanism by which commitments to international human rights treaties can be made credible? Treaty ratification can activate domestic mechanisms that make repression more costly, and the legislative opposition can enhance these mechanisms. Legislative veto players raise the cost of formalistic repressive strategies by declining to consent to legislation. Executives can still choose to rely on more costly, extralegal strategies, but these could result in severe penalties for the leader and require the leader to expend resources to hide. Especially in treaty member‐states, legislatures can use other powers to also increase the cost of extralegal violations, which can further reduce repression. By using an empirical strategy that attempts to address the selection effects in treaty commitment decisions, I show that positive effects of human rights treaties increase when there are more legislative veto players.
American Journal of Political Science – Wiley
Published: Jul 1, 2015
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